Judge: Dawndee Rossy guilty on 91 counts

By Deb Murphy

Guilty on 91 counts.

Judge Philip Argento’s ruling on the Dawndee Rossy embezzlement trial wasn’t that dramatic Monday afternoon at the Independence Courthouse, but that was the gist.

File photo

File photo

Rossy will self-surrender to the Independence jail August 29 by 2 p.m. Her next appearance in court will be October 20 when Argento will deliver the sentence after considering the probation report.

“I have adopted the plaintiff’s argument,” Argento said in his ruling that Rossy was guilty on every count. Rossy was initially charged with 135 counts with a primary charge of embezzling $1.5 million of public assistance funds while employed as a supervisor with Inyo County’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Over the course of the trial, charges of identity theft of those persons who did not testify in court were dropped as were charges of conspiracy to commit forgery.

During the brief court session, Argento alluded to “the anticipated length of the sentence.” On February 4, the first day of testimony in the case, Rossy rejected a plea deal that would have sent her to prison for eight years.

At that time, Argento encouraged her to take the plea, saying if the prosecution proved all 135 counts, the mandatory sentence could be as much as 31 years.

Defense attorney David Evans asked that Rossy self-surrender in two weeks, rather than being remanded to custody Monday. He cited the recent death of her mother and her recent return to Bishop. Argento granted the request.


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48 Responses to Judge: Dawndee Rossy guilty on 91 counts

  1. Trouble August 16, 2016 at 7:31 am #

    What good does locking her up for many years do now?

    • Low Inyo August 16, 2016 at 10:04 am #

      trouble….if for nothing more,sending the message to others that might want to bilk the system for millions….do the crime,do the time…keep your hands in your pockets…..it’s not O.K. to be a thief….

      • Wondering August 16, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

        Amen Low Inyo

    • Charles O. Jones August 17, 2016 at 7:33 am #

      Our criminal justice system is directed at deterring and mitigating criminal acts. She wasn’t caught shoplifting. She was found guilty of stealing a substantial dollar amount of public funds while serving in a position of public trust. How would letting her run free help deter the next would-be embezzler? (And if history on the Eastside has shown us anything, it’s that the next would-be embezzler is probably living amongst us right now.) Without criminal penalties, our laws aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

    • Paulette Leach August 18, 2016 at 10:53 pm #

      What sentence would you give her?

    • Lyle Chipperson August 20, 2016 at 12:36 am #

      Ummm punish her.

  2. Tinner August 16, 2016 at 7:39 am #

    Well, finally!

    • Kate August 16, 2016 at 8:37 am #

      Exactly! Unbelievable that she didn’t take the 8 year plea bargain.

      • Wondering August 16, 2016 at 9:43 am #

        I bet she is wishing she did! The woman that embezzled from Washing Mutual pleaded out at 3 years….and didn’t she take about as much?

  3. Low Inyo August 16, 2016 at 10:36 am #

    $100 to a donut there will be more delays between now and sentencing…and then,after sentencing,some type of ankle-monitoring while they go through the appeal process….

  4. Jeff August 16, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

    What good does locking her up do? As opposed to what, allowing her to walk around as if she did not steal millions of dollars? She is a criminal, a thief, an embezzler, and a liar. There are penalties provided by law for that. She got caught. She should have to pay back every cent of the stolen money, and she should spend the next 30 years in prison. Or should she just have to say whoops, sorry, other people steal too, I have things to do, a life to lead, prison isn’t convenient for me? She should have considered the consequences before she committed the crimes. Or like honest people, not done the crime at all.

    • Trouble August 16, 2016 at 7:00 pm #

      Jeff, how is she going to pay a penny of this back from behind bars? How much will she have saved up by the time she gets out in 2047 ? Is she really a public danger to any of you?

      • Wondering August 17, 2016 at 7:09 am #

        @Trouble….and did you think she is going to pay it back if she was not in jail? lol

  5. Trouble August 16, 2016 at 5:25 pm #

    She’s already lost part of her family and most of her freinds. Do you realize in Canada she would actually get real help and job training ? She would be out in a few years. This ain’t Saudi Ariba !

    • Tinner August 16, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

      Trouble, you’re right, this ain’t Saudi Arabia but it ain’t Canada either. She had her chance at a plea deal. If she took it maybe she would have been released after a few years. She made her bed now she must lie in it.

    • T-Bone August 17, 2016 at 10:54 am #

      Trouble, I hope feel the same way for the hundreds of thousands of folks in prison for drug possession, a victim-less crime that has ruined many lives. This piece-of-work stole $1.5 million from poor people, and likely has a fair amount of that stashed away somewhere.

    • Annie August 22, 2016 at 8:56 am #

      Oh for God sakes Trouble! She had a good paying job with the county! She made over $5000.00 a month, how much more money does a person need! There are plenty of hard working people who would give anything for the supervisor position she held. I don’t feel sorry for her one bit.

  6. Low Inyo August 16, 2016 at 7:19 pm #

    Trouble….good idea…no jail time….no fine….no restitution….she’s already “suffered enough”….let the tax payers she bilked out of $ 1 million + pay out more of their money to get her help and pay for her new job training…trouble….your a funny guy….If I ever meet you I’ll buy you a beer.

    • Trouble August 17, 2016 at 1:33 am #

      Didn’t say any of that lower. If you were wondering what I would do is. Take half her pay for rest of her life . Half here social security and maybe non working days in jail or treatment for the first 2 years. A order not to handle any money exchanges.
      At least the victim gets paid back something.
      I don’t believe in caging non violent people up . There are other ways to punish people and keep track of them now. Hell , we put cameras on our on police. But not the violent offenders take we let out in weeks and months mostly.

      • Trouble August 17, 2016 at 1:37 am #

        Sorry about all my spelling errors. Please dont cut off my tongue.

  7. Squish August 16, 2016 at 7:27 pm #

    Maybe she should have stole from Canada then, right Trouble? She will get plenty of job training if she wants it.Cooking, cleaning,license plate making.. Quality and well deserved stuff!

  8. Kim August 16, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

    And what about getting the money back???

  9. Rick O'Brien August 16, 2016 at 8:10 pm #

    Trouble…I’m positive you’d feel the same way if she stole a million + of YOUR hard earned dollars. And if it WAS Saudi Arabia , she’d have no hands .

    • Trouble August 17, 2016 at 5:18 am #

      Maybe at first Rick, the question should be how I would I feel in 2047 when she gets out.

      • Rick O'Brien August 17, 2016 at 6:22 pm #

        She needs to be punished…but here’s what I would do. You sell ALL your holdings, houses,boats, motorcycles, whatever, and you can come up with an even 1 million dollars before sentencing, I’ll give you 5 years in prison. The county will absorb the loss of the remainder of the amount you stole. A cool million and 5 years, as opposed to looking at being a senior citizen with nowhere to go when you’re released.

  10. Badfinger009 August 16, 2016 at 8:26 pm #

    Now send her to the Gulag for 25 to 30 Years, Bypass WASCO straight to the Gulag

  11. SmartSass August 16, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

    Lock her up! And we can spend more tax dollars on her ass… Trial and investigation for 3+ years and now we can foot the bill for a 20 year jail sentence… Justice is clearly served…

  12. Tourbillon August 17, 2016 at 7:30 am #

    She should have defended herself by explaining that she had been “extremely careless”. Not even the FBI would prosecute that, even when it means the loss of state secrets.

    I’d be more simpatico with the pitchfork crowd if the law applied evenly to everyone. Including those in power.

    • Low Inyo August 17, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

      Tourbillon…if you want to get political,I’m sure in some states and Countries,if you were to embezzle money from people with some phony “university”,or put people to work for you with some deal,then when the work is done,you fail to pay them for it….or work the system to the point you can remain a billionaire but still able to file numerous bankruptcies,somewhere in there it could be against the law and not only warrant law-suits but also jail time…at least the incidents you mention were completely exonerated of any criminal actions or wrong-doings…

  13. sugarmags August 17, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    I’m curious as to what changes Inyo County has taken to create more checks and balances so these kinds of abuses can’t happen. Certainly Ms. Rossi seemed to indicate that she wasn’t the only person absconding with funds from this office. (Not that that is any kind of legitimate defense).

    It appears to me that the office is completely out of control and lacking supervision. Has there been any repercussion to County management for allowing this to happen? (not criminal of course, but reassignments or dempotions perhaps?

    Personally, I don’t think a super long sentence is in the best interests of the County or State. 5 – 10 years is more than enough to deter others and effect Ms. Rossi deeply. And then hopefully, she can find gainful employment and start paying back the money.

    • Trouble August 17, 2016 at 5:49 pm #

      I like your way of thinking Sugar. As for the rest of you, oh well

      • Low Inyo August 17, 2016 at 6:08 pm #

        If I were the judge,she’d get 10 years,probably out in 7….and then some type of restitution pay-back for the rest of her life…no one wants or expects 30 + years in prison.

  14. Earl Duran August 17, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

    Would you hire her. She has got major problems, she deserves what she got.

    • Trouble August 17, 2016 at 8:49 pm #

      Yes I would . But I won’t let her handle my money. You asked.

      • Wondering August 18, 2016 at 6:55 am #

        Not judging @Trouble….but do you not feel that “a thief, is a thief”? In my wise old age I have found that if someone steals a penny they will steal the table it sits on.

        • Trouble August 21, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

          Wondering, you make a pretty good point there. I’m not against some form of justice. It just really bothers me how much time she is likely to get for, in my mind, not agreeing to take the DA,s offer. Call me a bleeding heart or whatever,,but when I read the part that says she faces 31 “mandatory years” , I felt sorry for her.

          • Wondering August 22, 2016 at 10:26 am #

            I get you @ trouble….I feel for her also, as we have all made mistakes. My main thought is her family, as I hear she has a child. I can not imagine the void they will feel with her gone. I hope that she is a lesson for anyone else thinking of taking something that isn’t theirs….hard lesson I know, but it needed to be done. Sounds like you have a great heart trouble.

  15. Badfinger009 August 18, 2016 at 4:42 am #

    In China she would’ve got the Bullet to the head and the cost of the bullet would be billed to her family

  16. Traci Cooper August 18, 2016 at 6:44 am #

    People are always complaining abot the clients defrauding the system and how they should be punished, but w h e a person in a position b of authority does it, everyone says it’s a victimless crime why should she be in prison. Does that mean Bernie Madoff, WHO stole millions and ruined countless people’s life should go free? As a former Eligibility Supervisor I would never dream of doing what she did . This is not a victimless crime either. Many people were hurt by her greed. Clients, tax payers, the County of Inyo , the State of California, and the people who worked under her. The example set by this woman to her staff is almost chilling. That job is tough enough to do, with constant Regulation changes, changing automated system, always being understaffed and overworked, not to mention an average pay rate that is almost laughable. People who do this job should be doing it because they care about those in crisis and not trying to figure out how they can use the system to their own personal advantage. It is unfortunate she did this, but she is not the first and won’t be the last. In the County I worked for not one but two people were caught embezzling and they were given the option of resigning or being fired, no charges were filed. So where is the deterrent in that? What’s to stop them from doing the same thing to the next employer they works for.

  17. Gary Trotman August 18, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

    The Odds are the money she took was blown on jewelry , clothing , and our local Casino .
    1.5 million sounds like a pile of case but it really isn’t much these days ! Two nice houses in bishop possibly .
    Heck , I have blown $5000 on one night in Vegas.
    She should have taken the 8 years , She would have been out in 4 or less.

  18. Maddawg August 18, 2016 at 11:59 pm #

    The bottom line is, she stole money plain and simple. And obviously thought she was smarter than everybody else and would get away with it for as long as she so chooses. I don’t feel she was the “lone wolf” by any means though. People quitting or resigning right away after Ross’s arrest that worked with her is a bit suspicious and there were a lot of evidence pointing away from rossy But, this is after all in yo county and I’m sure no charges will be filed on anyone else. They got what they went after and I say throw the book at her! There are plenty of people that would love to have her job and put forth an honest integrity filled effort for helping their fellow man but she chose to instead rip them off! Shameful!! I say give her the maximum prison sentence! It’s a joke if they think there will be any restitution! She is in her late 40’s now even a light sentence of say 10 years will put her near 60 when released so I say give her 20 years to think about it and ask herself if all those casino nights were worth it?

  19. Avid August 19, 2016 at 6:38 am #

    30 yrs is not long enough.she knew exactly what she was doing.i seen her at the casino living large,max betting the dollar machines.shes a pile of poo.let her rot in jail.maybe she can join hillarys team.. Her and her husband live high on tje hog for yrs.

  20. Noneyah August 19, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    Typical Bernie supporting libtard democrap. Why not let all crimes go unpunished? What if this lady bilked your bank account? Took food from your children? How would you feel then?
    Stupid people

    • Low Inyo August 20, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

      Noneyah….What about those to choose to employ workers….but when the building is done,not pay the workers or the companies that did the building ?…stating “I’ve paid them enough already “……or how about bilking people out of their money with some trumped-up (no pun intended) university scam ?…..should that be against the law or go unpunished too ?

  21. Low Inyo August 19, 2016 at 3:02 pm #

    From what I’ve seen,in my life-experiences,in 90 % of these cases,where a woman commits these types of crimes,there’s usually a bummy-guy in her life either egging her on or participating……is that the case with this one here I wonder ?

  22. stoopid August 20, 2016 at 8:19 am #

    please? i dont know all of the specifics, but come on 30yrs? do you have any idea how much money it costs to incarcerate a single inmate per year? isnt that what this case is about? public funds? After three years in court, at the publics exspense, now you want to spend hundreds of thousands more? You all are crazy….She needs to be picking up garbage for the next several years, or providing some kind of service at no cost rather than cost the county or state more money.

  23. Trouble August 23, 2016 at 5:41 am #

    Here’s a fair punishment: make her pay for my kids college.

  24. Eagles September 15, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

    I think she will get 10 years …. Although I feel like she deserves 25. She showed no remorse by rejecting the plea offer of 8 years which was reasonable. Shows exactly what type of criminal she is, a very sophisticated one who needs to be off of the streets!!!


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