Bishop residents Dawndee and Kenneth Rossy pled not guilty to charges of embezzlement at an arraignment hearing in Inyo County last week, according to Assistant District Attorney Joel Samuels.
In April, the couple was arrested and charged with the embezzlement of more than $1.5 million in public funds from the Inyo County Welfare Department. Dawndee Rossy was a former supervisor in the Welfare Department office.
The Inyo County District Attorney also filed allegations against the couple of identity theft, conspiracy, filing false or no tax returns, and forgery. The Rossys denied all special allegations and waived time, Samuels said.
At the arraignment hearing, Dawndee Rossy retained Attorney Michael Berger, while her husband retained Attorney Gerard Harvey. Berger indicated that he would file a motion for the next hearing in the Rossys’ case to suppress admissions made by Dawndee Rossy. “Under the law, there could be reason to forbid the use of these admissions if the case were to go to trial,” Samuels explained. “Basically, [the intent is] to kick the statements out.”
Attorneys involved in the case also requested at the arraignment hearing that the Administrative Office of the Courts assign one judge to the remainder of the case. Both Inyo County judges had previously recused themselves. Samuels said that a single judge, rather than a roster of visiting judges, would have a better opportunity “to get a handle on all the issues.”
The Rossys are scheduled for a settlement conference on Dec. 19.