Former state tax collectors charged with fraud, forgery

Former state tax collector employee sentenced to four years in prison.png
Posted at 11:05 AM, Aug 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-01 11:05:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - One former tax collector employee has been sentenced to four years in prison and another is set to go to trial for embezzling over $100,000 from the State of Florida through forged records.

The Florida Highway Patrol says Roberta Mary Cotton has pled guilty to one count of scheme to Defraud the State of Florida and 41 counts of falsifying public records. 

Circuit Judge Christopher Patterson accepted her plea this week and sentenced her to four years in prison followed by five years of probation.

A 2016 FHP investigation uncovered that Cotton and another clerk, Genene Hill Hall, were stealing the $225 impact fee for registering new tags in Florida and had forged more than 200 records. 

A forensic examination by investigators revealed several false computer entries where the two clerks stole over $100,000 over 4 years.

In 2017, both were arrested on charges of grand theft of over $100,000, organized scheme to defraud and 218 counts of forgery in Jackson County.

In addition to being sentenced to four years in prison, Cotton immediately paid $6,676.94 in restitution and has forfeited the remainder of her retirement with the state of Florida. She is also liable for restitution in an amount to be determined within 30 days.

Troopers say Cotton is expected to testify in Hall's trial in September.