Sawyer loses appeal but close to release

Norman Jean Sawyer will be paying restitution for a long, long time.
Norman Jean Sawyer will be paying restitution for a long, long time.

Just 10 days ahead of her release from state prison, a three-judge Third District Court of Appeal panel turned down Norma Jean Sawyer's challenge of her March 21, 2012, theft-related conviction.

Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Mark Jones sentenced Sawyer, former executive director of the now-defunct Bahama Conch Community Land Trust in Key West, to two years in prison for stealing $121,637 in public money.

Sawyer, now 62, was convicted by a Monroe County jury of felony scheme to defraud for misappropriating city and state grant money intended to construct housing for the homeless at 307 Julia St. in Bahama Village.

She appealed the conviction but on Wednesday, Miami-based DCA Judges Linda Ann Wells, Kevin Emas and Ivan Fernandez upheld the lower court's decision in a one-page opinion with no specific comment.

After her expected release from prison on Nov. 30, Sawyer will be on probation for 25 years. Jones also ordered her to pay $59,262 in restitution to the city of Key West, $62,375 to the state Department of Children and Families and $32,174 to the State Attorney's Office for investigative and prosecutorial fees.

Sawyer is imprisoned at the Lowell Correctional Institute Annex near Ocala, the same prison complex housing former School District administrator Monique Acevedo and former Monroe County Technical Services Director Lisa Druckemiller. Acevedo and Druckemiller are serving time for separate theft-related crimes.