Embezzlement case dismissed, but Dozier still in jeopardy
BRANDON — A Rutland County judge has dismissed the embezzlement charge against a former employee of the Brandon Inn without prejudice, but the case against Carmen M. Dozier may take a federal turn.
As of Nov. 17, the case is technically closed in Rutland County Superior Court, criminal division, but authorities said federal charges may be pending for Dozier, 39, of Rutland. If a charge is “dismissed without prejudice” that means the same charge can be re-filed by the state at a later date.
The Reporter learned that agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation contacted the Brandon Police Department in early November regarding the Dozier case. Now that state charges have been dismissed, the FBI could indict Dozier on federal embezzlement or fraud charges instead. In fact, the state charges may have been dismissed specifically to allow the FBI to build a federal case against Dozier. The Reporter learned this past Monday that the FBI does intend to pursue the case against Dozier.
Dozier was charged in September with allegedly embezzling more than $60,000 from the Brandon Inn between May 2013 and May 2014 while she was employed as the front desk clerk. On Sept. 29 in Rutland criminal court, Dozier pleaded not guilty to one charge of felony embezzlement over $100.
A state conviction on that charge carries a jail sentence up to 10 years, and a fine up to $10,000.
While federal embezzlement charges would only come if the suspect allegedly took federal money or services, the FBI also investigates many different types of fraud, including Internet fraud, and identify theft. According to the affidavit in the Dozier case, Brandon Inn owners Sarah and Louis Pattis allege that Dozier falsified time cards, claimed overtime she did not work, set up false bank accounts, diverted funds to pay the inn’s bills to those accounts for her own use, and charged thousands of dollars in credit card expenses in the name of the Pattises.
Brandon Police Lt. Rod Pulsifer has been the lead investigator on the Dozier case since the Pattises first notified authorities in June 2014. Pulsifer said in November that he wasn’t sure what triggered the FBI’s interest in the case, unless it was credit card purchases Dozier allegedly made from national companies across state lines.
The FBI is notoriously silent on pending cases, and this case is no exception. A call in November to the FBI regional office in Albany, N.Y., was directed to the media relations department, but no return call with any information on the case has been received. Last week an FBI spokesperson said the bureau does not comment on active cases.
Rutland County State’s Attorney Marc Brierre said this past Monday he is familiar with the Dozier case, but also chose not to comment.
“I really don’t want to comment on a pending case, even though it is a closed case in Rutland County,” Brierre said. “We are aware of the case, but I don’t feel it’s appropriate to comment at this time.”
According to a criminal record report obtained by The Reporter, Dozier has an arrest record going back 20 years, starting with a shoplifting conviction at age 18. She has been convicted of other charges, including writing bad checks and fraud. Court documents also list several aliases including Carmen Merced Melian Consuegra, Carmen Melendez, Millie Melendez, and Carmen Milagros Melendez.
A federal conviction of embezzlement, fraud or identity theft could result in incarceration in a federal prison. Identity theft carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
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