KANSAS CITY, KAN. – A Kansas woman pleaded guilty today to federal charges of wire fraud and filing a false tax return related to a scheme to embezzle money from the Johnson County District Court in Olathe, Kansas.
According to court documents, Dawna Kellogg, 61, of Williamsburg—while employed in the accounting department at the Johnson County District Court—stole at least $776,691.50 in cash from her employer between January 2010 and June 2017. Kellogg’s legal name was Dawna Brandt at the time.
As the Accounting Supervisor for the Court, Kellogg managed the accounting department, collected funds from each separate county system, recorded funds collected, processed daily reports, and deposited the collected funds into the Court’s bank account. The Court utilized a case management system named the Justice Information Management System (JIMS), which had an accounting function to maintain the Court’s financial transactions.
Kellogg stole cash that the Court received, such as bail bond payments, and either spent or deposited the embezzled proceeds into her personal accounts. Kellogg concealed the stolen cash by two primary means: (1) manipulating an unclaimed property account and (2) creating an open payable in the JIMS system and then issuing a check that was both drawn on and deposited into the Court’s bank account, which created a corresponding debit and credit and thus no increase or decrease in the amount under deposit.
Kellogg pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return. As part of her plea agreement, Kellogg agreed to not contest that the total loss resulting from the scheme to defraud was $1,135,988.13, which consists of $359,296.63 from 2007 through 2009 and $776,691.50 from 2010 through June 2017.
A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing is scheduled for August 16 at 9:00 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Holly L. Teeter.
“The defendant knowingly defrauded the public for personal financial gain over a prolonged period of time. When someone in a position of public trust redirects incoming cash payments for city bonds, fines, and court costs to their personal bank account it threatens the very core of our government institutions. Today’s agreement underscores the importance of holding those whose criminal actions degrade the public’s trust accountable.” Said Special Agent in Charge Charles Dayoub, FBI Kansas City.
“Ms. Kellogg’s attempt to conceal her embezzlement by making fraudulent accounting entries and filing false tax returns was no match for IRS Criminal Investigation”, said Tyler Hatcher, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “IRS-CI will aggressively pursue those who threaten to defraud the very court system which provides justice to all.”
The FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation are investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ryan J. Huschka and D. Christopher Oakley are prosecuting the case.