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(Neb)-Sebesta Gets Probation, Community Service, $900 Fine

By: John Axtell Posted at: 09/11/2017 01:25 PM
CHADRON - Former Dawes County Treasurer Barb Sebesta has been ordered to serve 1-year on probation and fined $900 for 3 misdemeanor counts of official misconduct stemming from a state audit last year. Each count drew a $300 fine.

       Sebesta must also perform 40 hours of community service within 160 days and pay a $50 court fee plus $400 in probation fees.

       She had faced a maximum of 6-months in jail and a $1,000 fine for each of the 3 No Contest pleas, which were treated as guilty pleas for sentencing.

       Her probation terms include not purchasing alcohol for herself or others or being in any vehicle where alcohol is present or any establishment where the sale of alcohol is the primary business.

      Sebesta had pleaded guilty in July with the attorney general's office dropping 3 identical counts and a felony forgery count as part of a plea agreement that also included paying $546 restitution to the city of Chadron for sales tax on a vehicle that she had not collected.

     None of the charges included accusations of personal gain. The only felony, the forgery charge, accused Sebesta of changing the amount on a check to the county, explaining she was trying to make it more legible and wrote the wrong amount while leaving the original amount on the deposit slip.

      The bank caught the discrepancy and the error was eventually corrected, but the bank reported it to the state, helping trigger the audit. Newly released court records show Sebesta said she would change the amount of a check if there was an error so a customer wouldn't be penalized.

      The misconduct charges deal with failing to follow proper procedures including failing to collect sales tax or sales tax forms in a timely manner or at all in some cases.

      Sebesta resigned after entering her guilty pleas, with deputy Rhonda Schleuning appointed as interim treasurer, but Schleuning resigned late last month when the County Commissioners chose Chelsie Sparks to serve out the rest of Sebesta's second term, which runs through next year.

     The commissioners then named Lois Chizek, Sebesta's predecessor, to serve as interim treasurer until Sparks takes over next Monday.


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