March 24, 2020–11:53 a.m.
GORDON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
On March 4, 2020, during the routine transfer of cash bonds from the Sheriff’s Office to the court system, a discrepancy involving a cash bond from a traffic offense was discovered.
This triggered an internal audit in which several other cash bonds were found to be missing.
All of the missing cash bonds involved the same jail staff employee, Sergeant Jonathan Lovins.
On March 9th, Lovins was suspended from duty and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) was requested to investigate the matter.
On March 20, GBI agents executed a search warrant at Lovins’ home. That same day, his employment was terminated.
On Monday, March 23, warrants were issued by the GBI charging Lovins with four (4) counts of Theft by Taking by Fiduciary, and one (1) count of Violation of Oath of Office by a Public Official. All of these offenses are felonies.
That same evening (March 23) Lovins turned himself into the Gordon County jail where he was booked subsequently released on a $25,000.00 bond.
The investigation revealed that each theft incident involved cash bonds from out-of-state violators, and totals approximately $6,000.00. Before his suspension and termination, Lovins was an ordinary employee with no history of disciplinary problems.
Sheriff Mitch Ralston said, “As Sheriff, my foremost duty is to police my own staff. It is a shame that Mr. Lovins made the very bad decisions that led to his termination and arrest. We moved swiftly and resolutely to resolve this problem. No law enforcement agency can maintain the trust of the people they serve if misconduct is tolerated. Mr. Lovins violated a position of trust and is being held accountable for his actions.