Former UF Transportation and Parking Services employee Tiffany Robinson pleaded no contest in the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Thursday morning, with a minimum possible sentence of 8 years, 11 months of jail time for grand theft and aggravated white collar crime, according to court records.
Robinson was arrested and charged with “creating fraudulent checks and cashing them” under slightly different names from the UF Transportation and Parking Services Department between April 21, 2016 to March 6, 2017 for a total of $8,401.75, according to the arrest report.
Later it was revealed that Robinson had issued checks to many other people totaling about $351,400 over the course of four years while working as a fiscal assistant at the UF Transportation and Parking Services department.
Previously she pleaded not guilty on June 12, 2017.
Public Defender Stacy Scott, who is not involved in the case, said that a no-contest plea happens when the defendant is not specifically admitting guilt of a crime, but the judge sentences them as though they were guilty.
“People who are charged with crimes usually do this because they do not want to face the risks involved with going to trial,” Scott said.
Robinson was charged in 27 counts of third-degree grand theft, which can result in a maximum of five years of jail time per count as well as a $5,000 fine, according to remarks in the courtroom by Judge William Davis, Circiut Court of the Eighth Judicial Circuit. She also has one count of aggravated white collar crime, which can lead to a maximum of 30 years of jail time and a $10,000 fine. Court records indicate the maximum possible sentencing is 165 years and/or a fine of $145,000.
At the time of her hearing, Robinson had served nine days in the Putnam County Jail and 370 days in the Alachua County Jail.
Defense Attorney Charles Roberson put forth a motion to defer Robinson’s sentencing for 30 days. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 12, 2018.
UF Director of Communications Margot Winick declined to comment on UF’s stance on the case.
According to court records, Robinson was pregnant while serving jail time. Her pregnancy was listed as “high risk” due to past medical conditions, including diabetes. While pregnant, she sent a letter to Judge Davis on Sept. 15, 2017 about her situation and pleaded for house arrest so that she could seek medical help and be with her family.
“Your honor, I know I have made some terrible mistakes throughout the past couple of years,” Robinson wrote. “But it’s so much that has happened in my life that have caused me so much heartaches.”
There is no information from the court available on what happened with the child.
Darry Lloyd, the spokesman for the Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office, said there are 27 co-defendants of the case, 20 of which are cooperating with the state’s case.
During the hearing, Judge Davis said the minimum sentencing would be 107 months of jail time. However, Lloyd said Robinson’s sentence could go up or down depending on how the sentencing hearing will go.
Lloyd said she issued about 1,200 checks total.
“It’s not like this was a one-time thing,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd’s advice to UF employees is to report anything suspicious to prevent this from happening again. He advised that employees should report such instances directly to the UF Police Department.
“If you see something, say something,” Lloyd said.