By Joe Johnson
Although she remains unindicted, the case of a former Athens-Clarke County police officer who last year was arrested on felony theft and other charges for allegedly stealing taxpayer dollars continued to be investigated, acting Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney Brian Patterson said on Friday.
Cassandra Della Fortuna, 28, was arrested on July 23 and charged with one count each of felony theft by taking, misdemeanor theft by taking, and violating her oath as an officer, also a felony.
According to Athens-Clarke County police, the charges stemmed from an ACCPD investigation into allegations that Della Fortuna misappropriated Athens-Clarke County residency supplemental funds that she was not entitled to.
The supplemental pay is a recruitment tool to encourage new officers to live in the county where they work. Della Fortuna, who joined the local police force in December 2017, had a Roswell address when she was booked into the Clarke County Jail, and after she was arrested, she filed a change of address to Roswell in Clarke County Superior Court.
The former Athens officer, who resigned after being arrested, is also accused of falsifying timecards, ACCPD spokesman Geof Gilland said soon after she was arrested.
In all, the investigation determined that Della Fortuna inappropriately received in excess of $3,600 from the county, according to the police department.
Under Georgia law, prosecutors have 90 days from the time of arrest to indict someone if they remained in jail without bond or cannot afford bond.
Since Della Fortuna was released from jail the same day that she was arrested, upon posting bonds totaling $4,050, prosecutors have up to two years to bring the case to a grand jury or to file a direct indictment or formal accusation.
Patterson, the acting district attorney, would not say what his office planned to do with the former ACCPD officer’s case.
“The case remains active and is under consideration,” Patterson said. “Police officers have very specific legal rights pursuant to Georgia law. Ethically, I am unable to comment further given that it is a pending case and, of course, Officer Della Fortuna is presumed innocent.”