SJSO finance director arrested on charges of grand theft, fraud

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The director of finance for the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office (SJSO) was arrested Tuesday morning on multiple charges involving grand theft and fraud.

According to a SJSO press release, Raye A. Brutnell, 47, was arrested on a warrant signed by Judge Howard Maltz. She turned herself in with her attorney, Hank Coxe, on Tuesday morning at the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Jail. SJSO terminated her employment after her arrest. Brutnell has been the director of finance since January 2013 and employed with SJSO since 1991.

SJSO said the agency was made aware of potential concerns regarding Brutnell last Wednesday, Nov. 14, and the former finance director was immediately placed on leave. In addition, SJSO said an immediate Mutual Aid request was made through Sheriff David Shoar to have financial crimes investigators from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office respond and conduct an independent criminal investigation. According to the agency, this case will be active for some time. The case has been assigned by the governor to Brian Haas, the elected State Attorney for the 10th Judicial Circuit for purposes of prosecution.

Shoar said in a statement he is extremely grateful that two members of the agency had the moral courage to report their concerns.

“We were able to take immediate and corrective action,” Shoar said. “We feel confident that at the conclusion of this case any monies taken inappropriately will be recovered.”

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