December 18, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
29°F
test

Former deputy clerk sentenced for stealing court funds

Sierra Dozier was sentenced Monday in Judge Mark Betleski courtroom. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Sierra Dozier was sentenced Monday in Judge Mark Betleski courtroom. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — A former Lorain Municipal Court deputy clerk was sentenced Monday to nine months in prison for stealing about $31,000 in court funds from the clerk’s office where she worked.

Sierra Dozier, 27, will serve the sentence handed down by Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Mark Betleski at the same time she is serving a yearlong sentence in federal prison stemming from the same crimes.

Dozier pleaded guilty to a federal mail fraud charge in November, but hadn’t entered pleas in the state case until last month. Dozier was convicted in state court of theft in office, tampering with records, theft, endangering children, permitting drug abuse and possession of marijuana.

The drug charges stemmed from a May 2013 raid on the Colombo Lane home in Lorain she shared with her now-husband, Julio Osorio, who was the target of a drug investigation by Lorain police. Osorio since has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Police seized six pounds of marijuana and $862 in cash while searching the residence, but it was what else they found that led to the public corruption charges against Dozier. According to court documents, the search turned up Lorain Municipal Court paperwork, including traffic tickets, checks payable to the court and envelopes from the clerk’s office.

During the investigation that followed, Dozier admitted to stealing from those who came to court to pay fines, court costs and bonds.

She also allegedly altered court records to cover up her crimes and prevent defendants from noticing that the court hadn’t actually received their money.

Dozier, who was fired shortly after her arrest, wrote in a letter included in federal court documents that she had been stealing between $200 and $300 per week to cover meals out and recreational activities.

She also had denied knowing anything about the drugs seized from her home.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.