Ex-bookkeeper pleads not guilty

A former bookkeeper has pleaded not guilty to defrauding the Key Royale Club of $387,000.

Holly Elaine Connelly, 29, was arrested in July and charged with one count of scheming to defraud in excess of $50,000.

She has remained at the Manatee County jail since her arrest, with her bond set at $50,000.

A bond hearing at the jail was set for Aug. 31 after Connelly’s attorney, assistant public defender Jessica Casciola, filed a motion seeking a reduction in bond.

The motion states that Connelly is financially unable to post the amount required under the $500,000 bond and that the amount is excessive and violates the defendant’s U.S. and state constitutional rights.

Earlier this month, Connelly pleaded not guilty to the charge and, through her attorney, demanded a jury trial.

In court records, the prosecution alleges that Connelly, who worked at the Holmes Beach golf club from June 2008 to April 2011, forged checks that were deposited into her Wachovia bank account.

Holmes Beach Police Department Detective Michael Leonard, who recently announced he is leaving full-time policing to pursue a business degree, investigated the case. Leonard reviewed Key Royale and bank records going back to 2008, which led to Connelly’s arrest.

If convicted on the charge, which is classified as a first-degree felony, Connelly could be sentenced to 30 years in prison.

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