Dawndee Rossy sentencing postponed again

By Deb Murphy

Dawndee Rossy has been sitting in Inyo County jail since August of last year, waiting to be sentenced on 91 counts, the primary charge embezzlement of $1.5 million during her tenure as a supervisor with the Inyo County Department of Health and Human Services. She’ll have to wait two more months – April 18th – for the decision from appointed Judge Phillip Argento.

Dawndee Rossy

Argento heard arguments from District Attorney Tom Hardy and defense attorney David Evans at Tuesday’s court session. He also referenced the Probation Report recommendation of 38 years in prison.

Hardy’s math differed from Probation on the charges he categorized as theft from taxpayers, identity theft and failure to pay taxes on the embezzled funds. After adding in enhancements, Hardy came up with 22 years and eight months, restitution on the $1.5 million and payment of back taxes.

As example of local comparative justice, Hardy offered up the nine month sentence levied against Sally Symons on charges of embezzling $10,000 from the Tri-County Fairgrounds, a six month sentence for embezzling $25,000 from the Fairgrounds by Rebecca Bragdon. Also in the mix: a two year sentence for Delores Marsh in the $322,000 Inyo Mono Auto Body embezzlement case

He described Rossy as a “serial thief” who executed a sophisticated scheme.

Evans challenged those premises, starting with a letter submitted to the court by H&HS Director Jean Turner, a letter the lawyer characterized as angry and exaggerating the impact. “She (Rossy) admitted she did bad things…. She stole some money over time,” he said. “That’s what she did.” He went on to point out the funds were state and federal monies, not County funds and the victims of identity theft suffered no negative impacts. “I’m not excusing what she did,” he said. “I’m just asking you to look at what she did.”

Evans questioned the sophistication of Rossy’s pattern of behavior. “The day after she was questioned, the DA’s investigator went to close up her office,” he said. “On top of her desk was all the evidence in this case. That’s not very sophisticated.”

In terms of comparative, or proportional, justice, he noted the median sentence for murder is 24 years 3 months. In addition to Hardy’s examples of local embezzlement cases, Evans brought up former Inyo Sheriff Don Dorsey. Dorsey wa, sentenced to five years’ probation, 120 days of community service and $1,600 in restitution in 1996 for embezzling $260,000.

Argento reminded the attorneys 12, 11 and eight year sentence offers were turned down by the defendant. Hardy mentioned the cost of the extended trial. Evans explained Rossy wanted to get a “handle on the amount of loss…. Is the sentence recommendation a punishment for exercising her right to a trial?”

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15 Responses to Dawndee Rossy sentencing postponed again

  1. mouthpiece February 27, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

    Maddawg you are exactly right! People are crazy. How is locking her up for the rest of her life going to resolve anything? It won’t. It costs thousands of dollars a year to incarcerate someone. So let’s spend more money. Isn’t that what this is about? What about her superiors? Why aren’t any of them held accountable? Chances are, she is taking the wrap for other people’s misappropriation as well as her own. Scapegoat. Easy way out.

    • Rick O'Brien March 8, 2017 at 7:16 pm #

      Locking someone up for stealing more than a million dollars is a DETERRENT for those that might be tempted to dip into a till that’s not theirs . Personally, I would rather eat bologna and top ramen for the rest of my life, than to steal money and risk going to jail. Her sole motivation was greed, (she had a good job, health, house, and all the toys) and it wasn’t enough.
      IF she could reimburse the County for the money she stole, (IN FULL) on sentencing day or before…if I was the judge, I’d give her time served ! But that money is long gone, never to be re-payed …

  2. Maddawg February 26, 2017 at 6:18 am #

    Well we all know how into county rolls, it’s who you are and who you know that decides your sentence!

  3. Maddawg February 24, 2017 at 11:42 am #

    38 years!! Ridiculous! So what they are saying is she’d be better off if she murdered someone because she would get less time!! Probation it sounds like It is trying to linch her. She went to trial to try and prove her innocence but sounds like everybody had already made up their minds. So if the d.a. Offered her 8 years and she turned it down and lost the trial why would they now give her more time for exercising her constitutional right by having a trial. Give her the eight years and be done with it already!!

    • Rick O'Brien February 24, 2017 at 10:50 pm #

      MD…the reason behind a District Attorney making (offering) a deal to a defendant is to save $ on trial time and court costs. When you obstruct the flow of the court by pleading innocent and you’re NOT, you get dinged for it . For the amount of money she stole and which will never be recovered, 8 years (probably out in 4) doesn’t seem to be excessive.
      And lets be realistic…she didn’t go to trial to prove her innocence, she went to trial to stretch this thing out for 4 years, to stay FREE as long as possible

  4. Rick O'Brien February 23, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

    She turned down an EIGHT year sentence…? If she had remained in jail (where she belonged) instead of being bailed out by her family, costing THEM , 25 thousand dollars for a bail bondsman, she’d have half of her sentence served. She rolled the dice and lost.
    The time has come to pay the piper, and I hope she pays what she owes.

  5. mouthpiece February 23, 2017 at 2:37 am #

    38years? You can kill someone and get less time. And how is it she is supposed to pay restitution? Y’all are belly aching about the money, then spend double the amount in court costs, add another 30-40k a year for her incarceration………..sounds logical to me. Bah ha ha ha. Wake up people!!! These are people not animals. Why not sentence her to a certain amount of mandatory community service. So many hours per week

  6. Low Inyo February 22, 2017 at 11:03 am #

    Gosh,how surprising !!!!!!!!

  7. Wondering February 22, 2017 at 9:50 am #

    What about Joanne Barba who stole $760,000.00 from Washington Mutual and ONLY did 3 years….stole from the elderly and the deceased, left her daughter, family and co-workers with the embarrassment in that small town. I’ve never read an apology or admittance from her…..

    Point is, if Dawndee doesn’t understand the effect this has on the town or her family members, teach it to her the hard way. I’m over all this embezzlement.

    • Trouble February 22, 2017 at 5:25 pm #

      Wondering, how is she supposed to show remorse when all the attorneys tell you not to say a word? She actually has a wonderful family and friends . I’ve meet her a few times and she was always kind freindly. I know she deserves a punishment, but we should cage the violent, not some out of control working mother.
      Do you realize she spent most this money at our local casino and partying?

      • KAR February 23, 2017 at 4:40 am #

        Stealing is a violent crime.

        • Trouble February 23, 2017 at 5:41 pm #

          No its not.

          • Low Inyo February 23, 2017 at 9:05 pm #

            …stealing is a tick away from a violent crime…..if you think not,try coming by my house and stealing my dog….

      • Wondering February 23, 2017 at 9:36 am #

        @Trouble thanks for the response,

        My thought, Sally Symons showed remorse, therefore I have a little more respect for her. As for Joanne Barba, I never heard or saw her apologize or take the blame for what she did. And with her, others lost their jobs and friends because of HER actions. All I ask is for them to OWN IT.
        I do believe and hope that Dawndee has wonderful friends and family, and people who love her. I can’t imagine going through what she is going through without that. But my momma taught me that when you make a mistake, own it, apologize for it, suffer the consequence, and don’t throw blame on others. I have made many mistakes in my life, and not always have I followed that rule, but the older I get…..the more I realize the importance of that rule.

        As for the “Local casino and partying” should we give her a little less time because she spent the money local? lol

      • Corey Shaw February 24, 2017 at 6:59 pm #

        She spent all the money at the Casino and the Dope man, so she could get all Twaackked out…


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