116 theft charges against ex-magistrate clerk dismissed
by Jessica Loeding
Apr 12, 2014 | 3088 views | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An indictment outside the statute of limitations against a former Magistrate Court of Bartow County clerk led to a dismissal of charges this week in Bartow County Superior Court.

Penny Blackmon was indicted Aug. 10, 2012, by a Bartow County grand jury on 116 counts of theft by taking. According to court records, Blackmon allegedly altered receipts regarding filing fees between Jan. 1, 2003, and Aug. 23, 2005, taking roughly $41,000.

The state maintained that the identity of the perpetrator of the theft was not known “until on or about March 12, 2009,” allowing for an indictment within the four-year time frame of March 12, 2013. Blackmon’s attorney, Howard Weintraub, filed a motion March 26, 2014, asking for the dismissal of the case based on the 2012 indictment falling outside the statute of limitations. That motion was granted April 7 by Judge Carey Nelson.

Weintraub argued in the motion that the state knew as early as May 2006 that Blackmon was a suspect.

According to the proceeding, Magistrate Judge Tom Moseley became aware in November 2005 — two months after Blackmon’s termination for unrelated reasons — that filing fee receipts could be changed. At that time, he was advised to undertake an audit, which showed theft of funds.

After the audit, Moseley contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, advising them on May 23, 2006, that theft had occurred and “... only one of the clerks had involvement with every aspect of the finances [and] that person’s name was PENNY BLACKMON.”

In 2007, GBI agents met with Moseley, then District Attorney Joe Campbell and Assistant DA Mickey Thacker. During the meeting, the court documents state that Moseley again identified Blackmon as the suspect.

“Significantly, as with the GBI Investigative Summary Report of May 24, 2006, the only suspect discussed and/or named in the Investigative Summary Report of this February 28, 2007 meeting is Defendant,” the motion reads.

A meeting with the auditor on March 19, 2008, showed “that Ms. [Blackmon] controlled all of the money that was taken in for the day for a period of time until she prepared the deposits for the day to go to the bank. It was agreed that during this period of time, Ms. [Blackmon] took cash, replaced checks for cash in the deposit ticket and adjusted the entries in the automated system to make the deposit information add up and balance in the system and the totals deposited match within the system and the deposit slip total,” the motion reads.

“Rather than proceed and seek an Indictment against Defendant with the evidence that the state had against Defendant as of March 19, 2008, ... Assistant District Attorney Thacker ‘indicated that he would prefer to continue the data entry for the year 2003 and also into 2005 [as] [t]his would demonstrate a continuing pattern of unlawful activity on the part of Ms. [Blackmon],’” Weintraub wrote in the motion.

The attorney argued that the only evidence presented by the state was the testimony of Moseley who, the motion states, told “the State on May 24, 2006 ..., on February 28, 2007 ... and again on March 19, 2008 ... that the deposit slips were written by Defendant. Clearly the State knew this evidence as early as May 24, 2006, 6.5 years before Defendant was indicted.”