Anatomy of Embezzlement

/Anatomy of Embezzlement
Anatomy of Embezzlement2019-05-15T18:34:37+00:00

Real World Illustration of an Embezzlement

Embezzlement in Florida Community“First time was a favor, kind of, that someone had asked if there was any way. I helped out people when they were in, when they had financial and medical problems, and I will say that I profited from it also,” Mixon told an FDLE investigator in an interview that was taped. She describes to the investigator how she stole the cash and covered up the transaction.

On this page, you will find links to a series of articles that illustrate the damage that can be done to an entire community when one individual chooses to steal other people’s money. We have chosen to spotlight this particular series because Benjamin Price, the reporter for the FERNANDINA BEACH (AMELIA ISLAND) NEWS LEADER , has done a masterful job in reporting the events from beginning to end. Mr. Price examines every aspect of this embezzlement so that you experience what the county residents undergo, not just the theft of dollars and cents but also the emotional theft that friends and family of the embezzler as well as other county residents live through.

If your purpose is to gain a better understanding of embezzlement, your time will be well spent. You will come to understand that the person that steals isn’t always the demon you would have them be but rather the neighbor next door that you have trusted for many years, as was the case with Julie Mixon.

We are not saying that you cannot trust your neighbors – simply that the times we live in mandate a watchful eye.

Julie Mixon betrayed her family, her co-workers, her friends, her community and herself. She paid for it with her life.

And in the end, you will see that her friends still to this day refuse to believe that she could have perpetrated such a crime. Such is our unwillingness, in the face of hard evidence, to believe that those that we love and trust are capable of such deceit. Be careful – that humanity albeit naïveté can be very costly both in financial and emotional dollars.

So, next time you take a look at your bookkeeper, who is after all only too human – if you hold her in high regard, do her a favor and keep watch over your books. She’ll thank you for it. Is she one of the 80% of the people that will steal given the right motivation (as per the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners)? You don’t know, nor we submit, does she.

The risks that you take every day in growing your business are necessary. This risk isn’t!

And if it isn’t your bookkeeper that most concerns you – perhaps it’s your family. You are gambling with their future as well! The articles are numbered in order of print date so that you can maintain the flow of information as it unfolds. We want to thank Michael Parnell, the editor of the Fernandina Beach News Leader together with Benjamin Price, the reporter for this series for permission to print the entire series on this site. It is their generosity that allows you, the small business owner to understand the damage that can be leashed on an entire community or in your case, your business. If you have any questions for Mr. Price, you may contact him at the link given at the bottom of each article.

Series Beginning with the End – Embezzler: When Trust Goes Awry

Note from Auditors Inc.: This article is actually one of the last in the series that follows.  We place it first (and later repeat it) so that you can get a feel for what is to come. By Benjamin Price, News-Leader When law enforcement confirmed that Julie Mixon stole more than $1 million from the Nassau County Clerk of Court's office, it sent a shockwave through the community. An unassuming, middle-aged woman on the verge of [...]

Series Part 1 – County Theft Probe Nears End

By Benjamin Price, News-Leader Results of an investigation into more than $1 million stolen from the Nassau County Clerk of Court's office are expected to be released at a press conference within two weeks. Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigator Dominick Pape was scheduled to conduct the conference this afternoon at the FDLE's Jacksonville headquarters on North Davis Street. However, FDLE spokesperson Sharon Gogerty said Monday it had to be re-scheduled for unspecified reasons. She [...]

Series Part 2 – County Employee Confessed Theft

By Benjamin Price, News-Leader A longtime Nassau County employee confessed to years of embezzling money from the county a week before she took her own life April 29. Julie Mixon, a finance supervisor in the clerk of court's office, told state investigators she used some of the more than $1 million she stole to gamble in Las Vegas, Biloxi, Miss., and Tunica, Miss. Whether the county may be able to recover any of the embezzled [...]

Series Part 3 – Where’d the money go? — ‘I spent it’

By Benjamin Price, News-Leader In a calm, matter-of-fact confession, former Nassau County Clerk of Courts employee Julie Mixon said she embezzled funds from the office for almost a decade simply by placing cash in her purse. What started as a theft of about $5,000 - to help out a friend, she said - eventually grew into years of embezzlement that officials now estimate adds up to more than $1 million. In a recorded confession to [...]

Series Part 4 – Sense of Relief, Anger’ in Clerk’s Office

By Benjamin Price, News-Leader Relief and anger.  That's how Nassau County Clerk of Court John Crawford described the mood at his office following last week's revelation that former employee Julie Mixon embezzled more than $1 million over 10 years. Her confession - made in a law enforcement interview April 22, seven days before Mixon killed herself in a Jacksonville hotel room - was revealed at a press conference Thursday. "Certainly there's regret and disappointment, but [...]

Series Part 5 – A Million Reasons to be Concerned

By Steve Nicklas -- STEVE'S MARKETPLACE Local residents just got a million or so reasons why Nassau County has to take hold of its finances. Every dollar stolen from residents in the scandal involving a former county finance supervisor should serve a million notices and reminders. But once again, county officials are seemingly unresponsive and unconcerned. At least the new clerk of court, John Crawford, did the right thing in alerting state officials when the [...]

Series Part 6 – Auditors Paid $467,000, but Missed Thief

By Benjamin Price, News-Leader Why didn't outside auditors discover more than $1 million stolen from the Nassau County Clerk of Court's Office over eight years? That's one of several questions lingering in the case of former clerk employee Julie Mixon, who confessed to the crime and committed suicide during a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation earlier this year. The theft resulted in "financial irregularities" discovered by clerk's office personnel in January. But law enforcement [...]

Series Part 7 – Theft in the Clerk’s Office (Opinion)

In your (July 8) article regarding the embezzlement of county funds by the late Jessica Mixon, Clerk of the Court John Crawford says the accounting firm of Farmand, Farmand & Farmand is still being used by the county and it is up to the county commissioners to change that. I encourage the commissioners to fire this firm immediately. It is obvious to me that an accounting firm that cannot match county revenue with a corresponding [...]

Series Part 8 – Embezzler Lavished Cash on Co-worker

By Benjamin Price, News-Leader While she was embezzling more than $1 million from the Nassau County Clerk of Courts Office, Julie Mixon shared a joint savings account with a co-worker, loaned her money and took numerous gambling trips with her, police records show. Longtime clerk of courts employee Debra Harris Keiter, currently a payroll specialist in the finance office where Mixon worked, also received a $5,000 cash transfer from Mixon she could not explain to [...]

Series Part 9 – Some Questions Left Unanswered

By Mike Boyle Now that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) report on the missing clerk of court funds has been made public, there are still lingering questions that need to be addressed. By simply raising these issues I know some will consider me to be insensitive and callous, while others will say, "After all that's happened, what's the point in raising these questions now?" To the first group I will assure you my [...]

Series Part 10 – More to the Story

Re: the alleged theft of over $1 million that has been laid at the feet of Julie Mixon. I do not believe that she could have stolen that amount of money on her own and without anyone else's knowledge or involvement. No matter how large the department or amount of money moving through it, or how much someone is trusted, you must always have checks and balances with accountability. This is after all, a first [...]

Series Part 11 – Fire ‘Em

I'm writing in regard to the theft in the Nassau County Clerk of Courts office. First, the accounting firm should be fired for not doing their job. This has been going on for about six to eight years so we have paid them a lot of money for nothing. We should hold any future payments due them then we should sue them. I understand the commissioners have to fire them and if they don't do [...]

Series Part 12 – County credit rating drops

By Michael Parnell and Benjamin Price, News-Leader Nassau County's credit rating has been downgraded again as the fallout continues from the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars by a former county employee. Citing "serious internal control and budgetary weaknesses," Fitch Ratings Ltd. downgraded the bonds used to finance construction of the Nassau County Judicial Annex. Lower ratings make it more difficult for the county to raise funds in credit markets and could cause it [...]

Series Part 13 – Unbelievable

I've read so many letters from the citizens of Nassau County demanding that (Clerk of Courts) John Crawford sue the estate of Julia Mixon, sue her family members and take back anything Ms. Mixon may have given to them. Unbelievable. Has no one yet figured out that Mr. Crawford has spent more money on all of these investigations that keep turning up nothing than he can hope to recover from the Mixon estate? Has he [...]

Series Part 14 – County presses Mixon estate claim

By Benjamin Price, News-Leader Nassau County has filed a civil action in its pursuit of the estate of former clerk's office employee Julie Mixon. The administration of the Mixon estate is pending in Nassau County Circuit Court, and the county filed a claim for the estate in August. The holders of the Mixon estate objected to the claim, prompting the county to file a separate independent action in circuit court. The county's complaint, filed Sept. [...]

Series Part 15 – County Audit finally complete

By Benjamin Price, News-Leader Following the discovery of a million-dollar embezzlement scheme and a subsequent state law enforcement investigation, Nassau County's 2003-4 audit is finally complete. The auditing firm Farmand, Farmand & Farmand presented the audit to the Nassau County Commission at a special meeting Friday, several months after it would normally have been due. The audit was interrupted for months while state law enforcement investigated the theft by former clerk's office employee Julie Mixon. [...]

Series Part 16 – County audit finds controls lacking

By Benjamin Price, News-Leader Following the presentation of the 2003-4 audit on Friday, the Nassau County Clerk of Court's office responded to some of the findings. The audit found the clerk's office "severely lacking in monitoring its internal controls over cash management." A state law enforcement investigation revealed former clerk's office employee Julie Mixon stole cash from the office for years without detection. Her embezzlement is now believed to have totaled more than $1 million. [...]

Series Part 17 – Crawford: Fire county auditor, ‘change culture’

By Benjamin Price, News-Leader Nassau County's Clerk of Court has called for the county to hire a new outside auditor. Though the county's current contract with the Fernandina Beach firm Farmand, Farmand & Farmand does not end until March, Clerk of Court John Crawford said Wednesday he feels a change is necessary to establish a "new level of accountability." Crawford sent a letter to Nassau County Commission Chair Ansley Acree Wednesday requesting the commission put [...]

Series Part 18 – County fires auditor

By Benjamin Price, News-Leader Nassau County has terminated its contract with the county auditor, Farmand, Farmand & Farmand. The Nassau County Commission voted unanimously Wednes-day to end the contract ahead of its scheduled end date of March 2006. Farmand has been under scrutiny since it was discovered a county employee embezzled more than $1 million from the clerk's office without detection for several years. Clerk of Court John Crawford submitted a letter last week recommending [...]

Series Part 19 – Embezzler: When trust goes awry

By Benjamin Price, News-Leader When law enforcement confirmed that Julie Mixon stole more than $1 million from the Nassau County Clerk of Court's office, it sent a shockwave through the community. An unassuming, middle-aged woman on the verge of retirement; one of the county's longest serving and most trusted employees; a person who by all accounts was exceedingly kind and generous to everyone she worked with or knew. How could this person have stolen more [...]