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City worker convicted of embezzling over $21,000

SALISBURY — A city employee has received a suspended sentence for embezzling $21,118.35 from the city as he handled residents’ payments for utilities, according to the district attorney’s office.

Joe Damion Elliott of Spencer was convicted Monday in Rowan County Criminal Court of two counts of felony embezzlement.

Judge Anna Mills Wagoner sentenced Elliott to two consecutive terms of five to 15 months in prison, suspended, with supervised probation for 36 months.

One of the terms of his probation was to pay the city full restitution, which he did in court.

The city hired Elliott in August 2013 as a customer service representative. His duties  included collecting payments for city services such as water, garbage, sewer and Fibrant, said a news release from the Rowan County District Attorney’s Office.

Between Jan. 31 and Dec. 9 of 2014, Elliott embezzled $10,218.32 from the city by entering cash voids that were not reapplied to targeted accounts.

Between Feb. 7, 2014, and July 7, 2015, Elliott embezzled $10,900.03 by entering cash voids and making a “courtesy adjustment” to the altered account to cover up the discrepancies.

It appeared from the investigation that Elliott targeted delinquent accounts. According to the District Attorney’s Office, Elliott told investigators that he took only $1,500 from the city, but an SBI investigation concluded that Elliott had embezzled more than $21,000.

District Attorney Brandy Cook said she appreciated the State Bureau of Investigation’s thorough investigation and the work of Assistant District Attorney Scott Harkey in holding Elliott accountable and recouping full restitution for Salisbury.

Elliott was ordered to abide by the regular conditions of probation, provide a DNA sample, serve six days in the Rowan County jail each month for 3 months at the direction of his probation officer, maintain a job, pay court-appointed attorney’s fees, complete community service and pay the fee, be on good general behavior, and not violate any state laws.

 

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