(Neb)-Treasurer Pleads No Contest To 3 Misdemeanor Counts Of Official Misconduct
CHADRON - Dawes County Treasurer Barb Sebesta has accepted a plea agreement and pleaded No Contest to 3 misdemeanor counts of official misconduct stemming from a state audit last year. The attorney general's office dropping 3 identical counts and a felony forgery count.
Sebesta will be sentenced Sept 8th. She has not issued a statement on leaving office.
The plea agreement stipulates Sebesta pay $546 to the city of Chadron as restitution for sales tax on a vehicle stemming from one of the charges that were dropped.
The plea agreement does not include a sentencing recommendation for County Judge Randin Roland of Sidney, who will consider all 7 counts in deciding the sentence.
Sebesta faces a maximum of 6-months in jail and a $1,000 fine for each of the 3 No Contest pleas, which are treated as guilty pleas for sentencing.
None of the charges included accusations of personal gain. The only felony, the forgery charge, accused 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 was eventually corrected, but the bank reported it to the state, helping trigger the audit. Newly released court records show Sebesta said she would change the amount of a check if there was an error so a customer wouldn't be penalized.
The misconduct charges deal with failing to follow proper procedures including failing to collect sales tax or sales tax forms in a timely manner or at all in some cases.
Sebesta had worked in the Treasurer's office for almost 6 years before being terminated in June 2010, then made the general election ballot for that November by petition. She went on to defeat incumbent Republican Lois Chizek by just 64 votes and was unopposed for reelection in 2014.
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