Ex-St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office finance director wants reduced sentence

Raye Brutnell was sentenced to prison time and probation for embezzlement scheme

A St. Johns County circuit judge on Tuesday sentenced Raye Brutnell to seven years in prison. (WJXT)

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A former St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office finance director, who was sentenced in August 2021 to 88 months in prison for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the agency, is asking for a reduced prison sentence.

Additionally, Raye Brutnell was ordered to pay $783,000 in restitution and a judge ordered her prison term be followed by 10 years of probation after she pleaded guilty to two counts of grand theft, a count of executing a scheme to defraud a financial institution and a count of criminal use of personal identification information.

Consideration of a reduced sentence was pegged to restitution. The judge has denied it thus far, saying Brutnell has failed to make timely payments toward restitution, and the judge pointed out that she has taken legal steps to prevent her state retirement fund from being forfeited to pay off the restitution.

There’s a hearing scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Brutnell, who was making nearly $100,000 at the time of her arrest, said the thefts were fueled by financial strain, according to charging documents. Some of the money paid for her father’s stay in a nursing home, while some went to her car and mortgage payments.