Deputy registrar accused of stealing $136,000 sentenced

Bonita Davis of Colerain Twp., a former deputy registrar of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles office on South Erie Boulevard in Hamilton, was sentenced to five years probation for stealing $152,000 from the assocation’s state organization where she served as treasurer. GREG LYNCH/ STAFF.
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Bonita Davis of Colerain Twp., a former deputy registrar of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles office on South Erie Boulevard in Hamilton, was sentenced to five years probation for stealing $152,000 from the assocation’s state organization where she served as treasurer. GREG LYNCH/ STAFF.

A former Hamilton deputy registrar was sentenced to five years probation Tuesday in Butler County Common Pleas Court and ordered to pay back $136,000 she took from a state association or face 36 months in jail.

Bonita Davis, 66, of Colerain Twp., is the former deputy registrar of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles office on South Erie Boulevard in Hamilton. She sat before Judge Charles Pater in a wheelchair for sentencing on one count of aggravated theft.

She was indicted in July on two counts of aggravated theft, both third-degree felonies, for stealing at least $152,000 between May 1, 2010, and May 31, 2015, according to the indictment by a Butler County grand jury. In October she pleaded guilty to the single count and paid back some restitution. Davis still owes $136,000 in restitution.

The missing money came from the Ohio Deputy Registrar Association, according to Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser. Davis was the treasurer of the association.

Davis, through her attorney, Ramona Daniels, asked for a continuance of sentencing stating she needed more time to compare her private bank statement of her IRA with the association’s bank records to determine the amount she has already paid back. She said she was paying money back to the association’s account after taking it out of the IRA.

Citing medical issues, Daniels said she has not had time to review the personal records, which she has had for about three weeks, with the evidence prepared by a forensic detective from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Gloria Sigman said Davis and her attorney have had all the discovery in the case, including the association’s records since August.

“Just having withdrawn money from a home IRA does not equate to deposits back to the organization,” Pater said.

But Pater also said, if Davis can prove to the probation department that the money had been paid back, she would get credit.

Davis said before sentencing, “I realize now I should not have done it …. But I am sorry for what I have done.”

Pater noted Davis’ family income is estimated at $55,000 to $60,000 annually and ordered her to pay $1,600 a month in restitution, which is what she receives from Social Security. He added if she does not pay restitution, she will go to jail for three years.

The Hamilton office suddenly closed April 13 and reopened in May with a new deputy registrar and staff of employees at Hamilton Crossing plaza.

Davis resigned the day the office closed. She had been a deputy registrar since October 1992.