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Former Fort Walton Beach finance director sentenced in money laundering investigation

Former City of Fort Walton Beach Finance Director, Brandy Ferris, was sentenced to 55.5 months...
Former City of Fort Walton Beach Finance Director, Brandy Ferris, was sentenced to 55.5 months in prison followed by 15 years probation. This after she pleaded “no contest” to felony money laundering charges earlier this year.
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 9:19 PM CDT
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PENSACOLA, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Former City of Fort Walton Beach Finance Director Brandy Ferris was sentenced to 55.5 months in prison followed by 15 years probation. This after she pleaded “no contest” to felony money laundering charges earlier this year.

In a news release from State Attorney Ginger Bowden Madden, Ferris was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge William Stone on Tuesday. In January, Ferris pleaded “no contest” to charges of organized fraud and money laundering.

The state attorney’s office said an investigation by the Ft. Walton Police department found Ferris, while working as finance director, embezzled more than $50,000 in public funds for her personal use. The investigation revealed between May 2019 and February 2020, Ferris opened an “off the books” credit card account in the name of the city. She then used it for personal charges. The news release said the investigation found Ferris paid down the balance with city funds. She then fabricated invoices from legitimate city vendors for the same amounts to avoid detection.

The news release said at the sentencing, a certified fraud examiner testified in detail regarding Ferris’ efforts to disguise the numerous thefts.

The Ft. Walton Beach Police Department investigated the case. Assistant State Attorney Thomas Williams prosecuted the case.

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