WAVERLY, Iowa --- A former longtime Bremer County recorder has admitted to taking public money while in office.
Donna Ellison, 59, also admitted to covering her tracks to hide the theft as she pleaded guilty to felonious misconduct in office and third-degree theft Monday in Bremer County District Court.
“I changed figures in the computer, specifically under passport pictures that were taken, and it was $10 here, $20 there,” Ellison said.
The total amount added up to at least $524.75, said Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown, although he noted auditors haven’t finished their probe of missing money at the Bremer County Recorder’s Office.
“There is going to be an audit report that hasn’t been completed. It hasn’t been published yet. There might be additional moneys that are found,” Brown said.
But he said further charges aren’t anticipated unless the audit finds something “drastically different.”
Sentencing will be at a later date, and the charges carry up to seven years in prison.
Under the plea deal, the state agreed to recommend whatever punishment is recommended by probation officials when they prepare a pre-sentence report, Brown said.
Defense attorney Lana Lurhing said she will ask for a deferred judgement, which would remove the charge from her client’s record if she successfully completes her sentence.
Authorities said Ellison, who has been recorder since 1995, took about $524 from the Recorder's Office between May 2012 and February 2013. She then altered computer entries to conceal the theft.
She resigned in February after the situation came to light, and the Bremer County Board of Supervisors appointed Melissa Davis to fill her slot in March.