July 25, 2014

Elyria
Mostly sunny
78°F
test

Former Lorain court clerk pleads guilty in U.S. court

Sierra Dozier

Sierra Dozier

CLEVELAND — A former Lorain Municipal Court deputy clerk of courts pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of mail fraud in U.S. District Court in a case stemming from her alleged theft of $15,000 to $20,000 in court costs and fees paid by criminal defendants.

Sierra Dozier, 26, of Lorain, pleaded guilty to the charge, which carries a recommended sentence of 12 to 18 months in jail, according to information provided by Michael Tobin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland.

Dozier is set to be sentenced in federal court Feb. 6.

Vicki Ward, Dozier’s attorney, did not return calls seeking comment.

Dozier was charged with mail fraud by federal prosecutors earlier this month following their investigation dating to a May drug raid by Lorain police on the home of Dozier and her now-husband, Julio Osorio. In that raid, police found six pounds of marijuana and more than $850 cash that police said Osorio, who was not yet married to Dozier, planned to use in drug deals.

Julio Osorio

Julio Osorio

The couple was arrested on drug charges following the raid, which also uncovered traffic citations and other Lorain Municipal Court paperwork in the home, including checks made payable to the court.

During a May interview with Lorain police and prosecutors, Dozier admitted to stealing the court funds, according to an affidavit prepared by FBI Special Agent Casey Carty.

According to the FBI document, Dozier told authorities that she placed checks, which had been sent to Lorain Municipal Court by criminal defendants to pay court costs and fines, into her court drawer before removing sums of cash that amounted to the exact sums in the checks.

Dozier also admitted to taking money paid in person, according to Carty.

The ex-deputy clerk of courts made changes in the court’s records to try to hide the thefts, but the changes were sometimes insufficient to conceal the thefts, according to the FBI affidavit.

Dozier was fired in July by Lorain Clerk of Courts Lori Maiorana after Dozier was indicted on drug and child-endangering charges.

Earlier this month, Ward said that because Dozier did not steal federal funds, she was surprised Dozier was facing federal charges instead of having the alleged thefts dealt with in state court.

The FBI affidavit states it was determined to be a federal matter due to the way in which the city of Lorain handled its bank accounts.

City Auditor Ron Mantini said last month that federal grant money was deposited into the same general city account used for other local revenues, including funds collected by the Lorain Municipal Court.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.

  • GreatRedeemer

    24-36 months from now we will be reading about her records expungement like the other government employees. I would be most interested in how this went unnoticed in the clerks office. Why were perhaps still are, the checks and balances so poor as to allow a simple clerk to commit fraud and steal money.

  • oldruss

    Who was responsible for hiring this loser? Was any kind of background check done? How was it possible for her to embezzle that much money without anyone apparently being aware of the shortage? Are there no controls in place in the Clerk of Courts office to prevent employee defalcation?

    • tickmeoff

      First of all, you don’t have the credibility to call her a loser! She is young, she won’t have as much to cover as a 40 year old, so her background check will be good. When you consider what the Judges get away with, why not a lower level employee. We have a corrupt court as you can see by the decisions that are handed down. Yes, she was wrong to do what she did, but if it wasn’t for her boyfriend getting caught, who knows how much more she would have gotten? Russ, no loser would have been able to get away with what she got away with. How many people will get an opportunity to make the money she did? In the end she did get caught, but shopping sure would have been fun. One could actually have what was a dream. Some call it temporary wealth, but temporary wealth is better than no wealth at all! Loser is a cheap shot and you are old enough to know better!

      • oldruss

        She had a civil service protected job, with full benefits, including but not limited to health insurance, paid vacations, sick pay accrual, etc.; and she threw that all away to embezzle from the clerks office. Yes, a loser is what she is, and all she is.

        • CAROL SAVAGE

          Yes she screwed up big time and why a young person who had great opportunity did a dumb thing only she can answer. At the time of employment her background was checked and was clean. What she did certainly was wrong and now she will pay, “LOSER”, However, alot of people who have made even greater mistakes have learned and come back to do great things. So “OLD RUSS”, while you are certainly entitled to your opinion when expressing it please have your facts straight and even as wise as you think you are you don’t know what her future will be when this is all over!! Her actions were her actions the Clerks Office or anyone else had no way of knowing this would happen. She has to answer to all of this!! She is the only person to blame!!!

          • oldruss

            Are you one of Lori’s acolytes, who’s on the public payroll? And, I’m not sure that I had ANY facts wrong. I ASKED if a background check was done, and I ASKED who hired her?

      • Joe Smith

        You can fail a background check at 18 years old, what does her age have to do with passing a background check?

  • Razorback Twou

    And still working the system. A wife can’t be made to testify against her husband. She married this clown making herself unable to help the case against him. Loser, maybe, dumb, not so much.

    • truth

      Now i know where my fine money went. they need to investigate the rest of the clerks office.

  • Brandy Lynn

    Any thief is a loser. Simple. However, that entire city is effed up. Completely corrupted by officials and “citizens” if that’s what you want to call them.

  • Brandon

    What I want to know is what about all those people that did pay there fines and was on the right track but it showed that there weren’t paying so now they had to go to jail because of what she was doing. How do you rectify that.