Woman from Forsyth faces theft charges, accusations of embezzlement

A Forsyth woman has been indicted on eight counts of fiduciary theft by taking stemming from allegations that she embezzled $10,000 from Retreat Village, a management company that owns a St. Simons Island shopping center.

Donna Lee Bryant, 33, is charged with writing eight checks ranging in value from $800 to $1,600 between March and June 2008, according to a Macon police report.

Bryant was indicted Tuesday by a Bibb County grand jury, but she has not yet been taken into custody, prosecutor Myra Hutchinson said.

At the time of the alleged theft, Bryant was an employee of a Macon accounting company and had primary responsibilities for inputting data into a computer program and reconciling cash account general ledgers to bank statements each month, according to the police report.

Attempts to reach Bryant and the accounting company were unsuccessful Tuesday afternoon.

The police report lists five payments recorded as being made to Georgia Power Co., but bank records show that Bryant received the funds, according to the report.

Two checks were recorded by the bank as being written to Bryant, totaling $2,400, according to the report. Another check was recorded as being written to Georgia Power, but it was paid to Regions Financial, the report said.

Canceled check images on bank statements showed that seven checks were signed by “W.D. Ramsbottom,” according to the report, which indicated that the signatures were forged.

W.D. “Billy” Ramsbottom Jr. hired the accounting company in late 2007.

In a separate case, Ramsbottom is charged with embezzling $62,974 from Retreat Village between March and August 2008. He was indicted in February, but no trial date has been set.

Authorities allege that Ramsbottom diverted rent payments from shopping center tenants to his personal accounts.

Ramsbottom’s attorney, Jerry Lumley, has said his client denies any wrongdoing.

Jay Strickland, an attorney representing Retreat Village, has said the alleged $10,000 theft was uncovered while the company tried to sift through records following the allegations against Ramsbottom.

Information from The Telegraph’s archives was included in this report.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.