Lufkin woman gets 13 years in vet clinics theft

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Lufkin woman who pleaded guilty in December to stealing $367,000 from her employer received a 13-year prison sentence in court Wednesday afternoon.

District Judge Barry Bryan delivered the verdict after nearly two hours of testimony.

Melissa Suzanne McCleskey, 37, pleaded guilty to a first-degree felony of theft in December. It came after she was arrested after it was discovered she stole more than $367,000 over a period of three years from two veterinarian clinics for which she worked.

McCleskey took the stand with a $20,000 check, explaining how she had sold her house and planned to pay back the remaining $347,000 over a period of 28 years.

According to a previous report, the investigation began in November 2010, when two different reports, showing two different figures, arrived at the CPA firm. The complainant eventually confronted McCleskey, who gave a written statement that she had taken about $50,000 in cash from both clinics, according to the affidavit.

A detective met with McCleskey, who, according to the affidavit, admitted to taking cash from the clinics since 2008, by overriding the computer and making a false daily report for the clinics and having the report turned in.

An audit showed that $246,016.71 was taken from East Texas Clinic and $121,764.05 was taken from Lone Star Clinic. The audit showed McCleskey's theft began on Jan. 3, 2007, at $25.45, and grew progressively over time, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit states McCleskey told police she stole up to $1,000 at a time and she just spent it on "living expenses."

On Monday, McCleskey explained in tears that she was sorry for what she had done, and was shocked when the detective told her how much she had stolen.

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