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 Comments
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mouthpiece
mouthpiece
5 years ago

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?… Read more »

Rick O'Brien
Rick O'Brien
5 years ago
Reply to  mouthpiece

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… Read more »

Maddawg
Maddawg
5 years ago

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

Maddawg
Maddawg
5 years ago

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… Read more »

Rick O'Brien
Rick O'Brien
5 years ago
Reply to  Maddawg

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… Read more »

Rick O'Brien
Rick O'Brien
5 years ago

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… Read more »

mouthpiece
mouthpiece
5 years ago

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… Read more »

Low Inyo
Low Inyo
5 years ago

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

Wondering
Wondering
5 years ago

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… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
5 years ago
Reply to  Wondering

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… Read more »

KAR
KAR
5 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Stealing is a violent crime.

Trouble
Trouble
5 years ago
Reply to  KAR

No its not.

Low Inyo
Low Inyo
5 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

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

Wondering
Wondering
5 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

@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… Read more »

Corey Shaw
Corey Shaw
5 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

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