(Neb)-Plea Negotiations Underway In County Treasurer Charges
CHADRON - Dawes County Treasurer Barb Sebesta entered Not Guilty pleas yesterday in Dawes County Court to 7 misdemeanor charges stemming from a state audit conducted last year, 6 counts of official misconduct and 1 of forgery.
None of the charges include accusations of personal gain and Sebesta’s attorney, Amanda Vogl, told Judge Randin Roland of Sidney that she is in discussions with the attorney general’s office on a plea agreement.
The attorney general’s office brought the charges while Judge Roland took the case after Judge Russ Harford of Chadron recused himself.
Vogl told Judge Roland that she intended to request a jury trial, but that instead of a pre-trial hearing, she was asking for a status hearing to allow for a possible settlement.
The forgery charge accuses Sebesta of changing the amount on a check to the county. She told the auditors she had been trying to make it more legible and had written the wrong amount while leaving the original amount on the county deposit slip.
The bank caught the discrepancy and the error eventually corrected, but the bank reported it to the state, helping trigger the audit.
The misconduct charges deal with failing to follow proper procedures including failing to collect sales tax or sales tax forms in a timely manner.
If convicted of all 7 counts, Sebesta - who is up for reelection next year – could face up to 4 years in jail and fines of $7,000.
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