posted on January 14, 2014 18:04
The former Village of Corfu court clerk involved with missing funds could avoid jail time if she stays out of trouble the next 11 months.
As part of a plea deal to a single felony count of tampering with government records, Brandi Watts was sentenced by Judge Robert Noonan in Genesee County court this afternoon to one year of interim probation.
Wyoming County District Attorney and special prosecutor to this case Donald O’Geen says interim probation is basically the same as probation where she has a probation officer and has to be a law-abiding citizen.
"It's kind of part two in a three-part process," O'Geen said. "She was sentenced to interim probation for one year and we're going to come back in 11 months where she will be sentenced permanently depending on whether or not she was successful or unsuccessful during the interim probation. If she's successful, as the court put on the record today, she will receive the deal as pormised back in October and if she's unsuccessful she faces open sentencing which carries up to a four-year prison term."
Watts paid $10,000 in full as restitution. That amount came up in a state audit back in July. Though the Village was able to recover that money, O’Geen says there’s only so much the legal process can do.
“Oftentimes in criminal cases there is the actual amount that we can recover legally for the fact that a crime was committed, but then there’s the actual cost of what happens in a crime,” O’Geen said. “The Village encumbered thousands and thousands of dollars in legal fees from their attorney. Those aren’t, to me, necessarily recoverable in criminal action.”
“Sometimes you just have to cut your losses and it’s just what it costs to do the job the right way and that’s what it did. It’s unfortunate. I can certainly understand the Village of Corfu officials' and the residents’ frustration.”
As part of Watts’s plea deal, her father, former Village of Corfu Justice Robert Alexander, could have the official misconduct and coercion charges dismissed on good behavior. His case was adjourned for six months back in November.