• Worker in St. Johns County tax collector office defrauded taxpayers, officials say


    St. Johns County Tax Collector Dennis W. Hollingsworth said Friday that an ex-employee has been arrested for fraud.

    Melissa Bush, 54, was booked into the St. Johns County Jail on Friday afternoon, records show. Her bail is listed at $2,500. 

    Officials said Bush worked in the St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach offices for nearly 10 years. Hollingsworth did not specify how Bush allegedly defrauded taxpayers. 

    "It was determined that the perceived discrepancy was part of a pattern," Hollingsworth said. "We immediately terminated the employee, launched a full investigation internally, and advised both the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and State Attorney’s office.”

    The investigation identified 593 victims and an amount totaling $13,433.53, authorities said in a release.

    All victims identified in the investigation will receive a complete refund for any portion of their transaction that was fraudulently overcharged, authorities said. 

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