OIG: Office of Inspector General
   Current Section

Investigation Report

Press Release

For Immediate Distribution
December 22, 2009
INYO County California

168 North Edwards Street
Independence, CA 93526-0604

On December 2l. 2009, Gary Donnally, the former Director of the Lone Pine Indian Education Center, and two (2) former bookkeepers of the Education Center, Mary Donnally and Mary Jefferson, entered felony no contest pleas to misappropriation of public funds. In addition, Sara Jefferson, former Assistant to the District of the Education Center, pled no contest to misdemeanor grand theft by embezzlement and in a separate case she pled no contest to writing checks with insufficient funds in her checking account. 5entencing will be March 5, 2010. All defendants will be placed on probation and serve local time, and be required to pay restitution. Even though the defendants pled no contest, the Superior Court is required to find them guilty.

The District Attorney's 0ffice spent over a year conducting an investigation, with the cooperation of the United States Department of Education and the California Department of Education. The investigation was hampered by missing records and/or destroyed records. Investigation from the District Attorney's Office had to initiate over ten (10) search warrants to obtain and reconstruct the records of the Indian Education Center. The reconstructed records showed the defendants misused the Indian Education Center's credit cards for their personal use. 'They purchased household furnishings and clothing at well-known department stores such as Lowe's, Home Depot, Nordstrom's, Sears. Costco, J.C. Penney's, Gottchalks, Dillard's, Best Buy, Target. Wal-Mart. K-Mart, Robinson-May, Mervyn's and others. They also purchased other services such as Direct TV, XM radio, Ver1zon, and used the internet to do online shopping.

Former District Attorney, Phil McDowell, was instrumental in putting the evidence together for the preliminary hearing, which in the opinion of current District Attorney, Art Maillet, resulted in the defendants entering no contest pleas. Unfortunately, State audits of the Lone Pine Indian Education Center resulted in the closure of the Education Center, and it is unlikely to reopen.

Print this page Printable view Bookmark  and Share
Last Modified: 09/02/2010