ATHENS, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) – The former Oconee County human resources director has admitted to stealing taxpayer money in a complicated paycheck scheme, said Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia in a statement.
Sherry Turner-Seila, 52, of Panama City Beach, Florida, formerly of Watkinsville, Georgia, entered a guilty plea to one count aggravated identity theft before U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal.
Turner-Seila was employed as the Human Resources Director for Oconee County. As such, she was one of the few employees with access to the County’s payroll system, which transferred funds directly from the county bank account to the bank accounts of county employees. From July 6, 2016 to July 5, 2019, Turner-Seila devised a scheme where she would use that access to temporarily change a former employee’s direct deposit information to her own personal bank account’s direct deposit information. In all, Turner-Seila stole $118,451.80 from Oconee County taxpayers.
The defendant faces a mandatory two years in prison, a $250,000 fine and one-year supervised release. In addition, the signed plea agreement states that both parties agree the defendant owes $118,451.80 in restitution to Oconee County. Sentencing is scheduled for November 18, 2020.
There is no parole in the federal system.