Ex-IT director for Clay County Clerk of Court arrested on theft charges

Clay County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Michael Hamilton
Clay County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Michael Hamilton

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – The former IT director for the Clay County Clerk of Court was arrested Friday on charges of grand theft, dealing in stolen property and false verification of ownership.

Michael Hamilton, 37, was terminated by Clerk of Court Tara Green last week under suspicion of misconduct and shortly afterwards became the subject of an investigation led by the Clay County Sheriff's Office, deputies said.

The charges filed against him Friday are based on the most recent incidents of theft and pawn of stolen county property, deputies said.

They said multiple additional charges are likely as detectives believe dozens of computers and electronics were taken over the span of several months.

Clay County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Michael Hamilton
Clay County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Michael Hamilton

Deputies said the investigation into Hamilton's activities involving county-owned electronics and computer equipment is ongoing.

Detectives said they are in the process, with the cooperation of local pawn shops, of analyzing months of pawn slips seeking verification of dozens of pawned items taken by Hamilton from the Clerk of Court office. Detectives believe some items were pawned multiple times and many items have either been recovered or returned.

Other items were located still at pawn shops in the county, deputies said. They said some items were sold and may not be recovered.

A search of Hamilton's home and vehicle will be conducted to determine if any additional equipment can be recovered, deputies said.

Investigators said a complete inventory of Clerk of Court equipment is underway to assess the total number of missing items.

Clerk of Court Green brought her suspicions to the attention of the Sheriff's Office, and deputies said her staff is assisting with the ongoing investigation as well.

"As our IT director, Hamilton had access to all types of equipment. He took advantage of the trust and security access that was given him," Green said. "He was put in charge of an important renovation of our IT server room and the ordering of new computers for our employees and saw that as a chance for theft. Due to the security measures in place, his actions did not jeopardize public information, which remains secure."

Deputies said an exact dollar figure on the total number of stolen items is not yet known.

Hamilton was hired as the IT director on Jan. 31 and served in that position until his termination. His only prior arrest in Clay County was for driving with a suspended license.

He's being held in the Clay County jail with bail set at $45,000.