Attorneys give final arguments in Dawndee Rossy trial

Deb Murphy

The attorneys in the Dawndee Rossy case made their final arguments in court Tuesday morning. The case now goes to appointed Judge Philip Argento who set July 28 as the date for his decision.

Dawndee Rossy

Dawndee Rossy

At the end of the session, District Attorney Thomas Hardy asked that Rossy be remanded into custody, stating the former County Health and Human Services supervisor represented a flight risk.

“It’s astonishing this is raised at this point,” said Rossy’s attorney David Evans.

Argento denied Hardy’s request.

Rossy is charged with embezzling $1.5 million in welfare benefits.

During his closing arguments, Evans zeroed in on that amount in his defense of Rossy. “She showed remorse when confronted,” Evans said.

“She said ‘I’m a bad person; I did bad things.’ But what’s the scope of the evidence, the range of activity presented in court?”

Evans went on to argue the prosecution did not prove “wrongful taking” in the amount of $1.5 million. “The evidence doesn’t show that.” He conceded that a link between Rossy and some “take” was proven and his client admitted guilt, but not on that scale.

Witnesses in the case testified how the complex computer systems worked in Rossy’s department. Evans focused on the lack of a direct link in the computer trail between Rossy and fraudulent withdrawals on the system’s Electronic Benefit Transfer cards.

In response to a question during a brief recess, Evans said the link had to be between the issuance of benefits and the “take” as opposed to a link between Rossy and authorization or approval of the benefits.

“The government’s responsibility is to show proof in each charge,” Evans said in court. “The documents don’t back up the charges.”

He went on to say that while guilt was proven in some charges, the prosecution concluded Rossy must have done it all. “The government overcharged this case,” he said.

Evans also argued that there was no evidence of the Rossy’s “lavish lifestyle.”

“You can hide hundreds of thousands (over the time period) but not $1.5 million,” Evans said.

He also questioned the fact Rossy’s office wasn’t secured until the day after her interview with Bishop police officers and the DA’s investigator, noting that potentially incriminating evidence was in full view, piled up on her desk. “Is that a coincidence?” he asked.

Hardy’s closing statements sandwiched Evans’.

“The evidence shows Dawndee Rossy created phony case files, loaded money on the EBT cards….. and used those funds for her own benefit,” Hardy said.

He went over the videos showing the Rossys making withdrawals that corresponded with fraudulent EBT withdrawals.

“She was the only one with access to these accounts,” Hardy said.

He noted that a total of $1,567,496.53 was withdrawn on 37 accounts stemming from the “phony case files.”

Hardy said: “We heard three witnesses testify that as the case files were closed down, not one person came forward and asked, ‘Where are my benefits?’ ”

As a rebuttal to Evans’ arguments, Hardy said the defense’s focus on issuance or approval of payments
was a “red herring.”

“Either is acceptable as evidence,” Hardy said. “There is no evidence any other employee was involved.”

Hardy also said: “It is our duty to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, not beyond an imaginary doubt. The cases were opened and managed by Dawndee Rossy.”

While some of the fund issuances were made when Rossy was not in the office, Hardy said many fund deposits were done automatically.

In response to Evans’ statement the Rossys did not live a lavish lifestyle, Hardy maintained the prosecution was under no obligation to prove motive or use of funds.

He did say that between August 2011 and December 2012, $159,000 ran through the Rossys’ account, during a period her salary was $31,000 a year.

On the first day of testimony, in late February, Hardy offered a plea deal that would send Rossy to prison for eight years. She turned it down.

Argento reminded the attorneys there was still time to negotiate, asking them “to consider resolving the issue over the money taken.”


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14 Responses to Attorneys give final arguments in Dawndee Rossy trial

  1. Low Inyo June 29, 2016 at 3:16 pm #

    Since I don’t think I’d like the smell of a jail cell for an extended period of time,I’m trying to figure out what I would do between now and July 28th,if I were her….and I think my decision would be…..punt.

  2. Roy June 30, 2016 at 6:07 pm #

    I’m curious if Bishop PD really has any officers that are highly trained in fraud cases..They are very complicated to understand and to investigate.. When I worked fraud we were all seasoned detectives and only investigated high dollar fraud cases.. I can’t count the hours I have spent in specialized training to investigate fraud crimes..

    • Bob July 1, 2016 at 9:19 am #

      No way they have highly trained enough to deal with a case like this. It would take a criminal forensic accountant.

      I had 350K taken by fraud from my business and the paperwork for the case was over a foot high and covered a 4×8 table. The detective in my case was completely overwhelmed and under experienced.

  3. earl duran July 1, 2016 at 8:36 am #

    Give her what she has coming, enough already.

  4. Maddawg July 4, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    Personally I think she has suffered enough with just the duration of this trial and every thing she has lost on the way. I also think hardy made a lot of accusations he couldn’t prove. No one takes in account all the stress and postponments after postponments she has gone through. Now I’m not saying if found guilty she shouldn’t pay the piper, she should but all the. Time this trial took she could of done her time and been out by now?

    • Wondering July 5, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

      Maybe she should have thought about “her suffering” before she stole the money….just a thought….

  5. Tina July 6, 2016 at 12:44 am #

    You’re freaking kidding me right? She took 1.5 million dollars. All paid in by our hard working tax dollars and you want me to consider her stress level and suffering??? You have lost your mind! What about the 37 families that did t get to eat because she was selfish?

  6. Tinaisfunny July 6, 2016 at 7:04 am #

    For 7 long years those 37 families had no food or clothing. I hope all of them survived she should be charged with human rights charges. This is outrageous.

  7. sugarmags July 6, 2016 at 8:11 am #

    Is her Attorney trying to create an appeal possibility for lack of adequate legal representation? Based on this article only, he appears to be a real ‘winner’.

    • Tinaisfunny July 7, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

      Her attorney was stating the the evidence was not there. The real ‘winner’ though is the readers who frequent this site and lol at all the the intelligent comments.

      Tina and sugarmags are in the running for the ‘comment of the year’ award

  8. Maddawg July 6, 2016 at 8:15 am #

    This is America Tina! Innocent until proven guilty! What 37 families are you talking about? Name one!!!???

  9. Low Inyo July 7, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

    Maddawg….and I predict the “guilty” hammer will be coming down soon….then the sentencing or penalty will drag on and be continued….appeals to the sentence….probably saying the judge was bias..or inadequate representation,as stated above….it’ll STILL be a long time before she sees the inside of a jail cell or having to pay any type of restitution….if ever…THAT my friend is the American judicial system…….even here in little ole’ Inyo County…

  10. Presto July 7, 2016 at 8:50 pm #

    Tells us all about the American judicial system slow inyo. Hillary Clinton committed more serious offenses than little Ol Dawndee Rossy could ever imagine.

    The law only applies to everyone else.
    I’m sure your hypocritical self will be casting your vote for her on November 6, 2016

    Bigger criminal Rossy or Clinton?

  11. Low Inyo July 8, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    …Presto-change-o……Maybe they should look into the thousands of E-mails done by Bush,Condalisa Rice and Colin Powell ….on private servers too…..but let’s not talk about or look into that….since Hillary was cleared of any criminal action on this,now the Right-wing loonies can get back to pushing for their investigation into the 90+ murders they claim Hillary was involved in and directly responsible for over the years…bunch of wack-o’s…….oh,and the election is November 8th….not on Sunday,November 6th…and yes,my vote will be going to Hillary Clinton…not the bigot and racist trump…..and another prediction…..Clinton wins in a landslide… and see….


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