Raye Annette Brutnell, former executive assistant to Sheriff Perry and Sheriff David Shoar, most recently Shoar’s appointee as Director of Finance for the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office, has surrendered herself to the custody of the Flagler County Jail this morning after she was informed that a warrant had been issued for her arrest. Brutnell just turned 47-years-old last month and has worked for the sheriff’s office since March 5, 1991. In 2005, Brutnell received a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Flagler College.
A compilation of charges allege Brutnell orchestrated a continuing scheme to defraud more than $700,000 from St Johns County operating funds as well as a benevolent fund for officers of the agency and their families.
Brutnell admitted to the fraud and claimed she did it because of the “financial strain” her family was facing, even though she had just received a $2,700 pay raise and was earning $108,885.00 per year.
Her husband, Mark E Brutnell, is a Director with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement assigned as Supervisory Special Agent in charge of the Tampa Regional Operations Center. He was employed by FDLE on December 15, 1995 and earns $116,500.02 per year, according to the State of Florida People First personnel information system.
She says she used the money for car and mortgage payments, her father’s nursing home, and daily spending, according to the affidavit. Brutnell allegedly told investigators she did not realize her “spending addiction” or the “magnitude of the fraud”.
Brutnell is facing 52 counts each of forging bank checks, uttering a forged bank check, and official misconduct, in addition to a charge each of grand theft, organized scheme to defraud, criminal use of personal identification, scheme to defraud a financial institution, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device. She also faces two counts of criminal use of personal identification information.
We know that the alleged ongoing fraud dates back to October 2013. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office was called in under a mutual aid agreement to conduct an independent investigation, which led to these charges. Governor Rick Scott has assigned 10th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Brian Haas to prosecute the case. Brutnell is represented by Jacksonville attorney Hank Coxe.
More details will be forthcoming once records requested from Shoar’s office are made available.