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.
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.