News

Press Releases

Florida Highway Patrol Investigation Leads to Guilty Plea

~ Former tax collector employee sentenced to four years in prison ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As the result of a Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Bureau of Investigations and Intelligence and Division of Motorist Services Quality Assurance Program investigation which began in 2016, Roberta Mary Cotton has pled guilty to one count of Scheme to Defraud the State of Florida and 41 counts of Falsifying Public Records. Circuit Judge Christopher Patterson accepted her plea this week and sentenced her to four years in prison followed by five years of probation.

FHP’s investigation uncovered that Roberta Mary Cotton and Genene Hill Hall were stealing the $225 impact fee for registering new tags in Florida and had forged more than 200 records. A forensic examination by FHP investigators uncovered several methods of false computer entries whereby the two clerks stole over $100,000 over 4 years. In 2017, both were arrested on charges of grand theft of over $100,000, organized scheme to defraud and 218 counts of forgery in Jackson County.

In addition to being sentenced to four years in prison, Roberta Cotton immediately paid $6,676.94 in restitution and has forfeited the remainder of her retirement with the state of Florida. Cotton plead to schemes to defraud more than $50,000. She is also liable for restitution in an amount to be determined within 30 days. Roberta Cotton is expected to testify in the trial of her co-defendant Genene Hill Hall in September.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The Department is leading the way to a safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol. To learn more about DHSMV and the services offered, visit www.flhsmv.gov, follow us on Twitter @FLHSMV or find us on Facebook. For safe driving tips and techniques, download the official Florida Driver License Handbook.