LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Lufkin woman will let a judge decide her fate after pleading guilty Monday to stealing more than $150,000 from her employer over the period of about 18 months.
Jamie Deniece Simmons, 40, pleaded guilty to second-degree theft and faces up to 99 years in prison. District Judge Barry Bryan will order a punishment following a pre-sentence investigation.
"It's like the defendant has bit the hand that fed them to take money from an employer," Lane Thompson, the prosecuting attorney, said.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Lufkin Police began investigating Simmons in January 2012 after a bank contacted them about fraud on one of their accounts.
Mike Windsor of WINCO and 4W Ranch found checks dating back to 2010 made payable to Jamie Deniece Simmons, 39, of Lufkin, which he did not authorize.
"Employee theft cases are generally really upsetting to the victim because the employer has trusted someone," Thompson said.
Windsor said he had hired Simmons in Sept. 2010 as his secretary and bookkeeper. He said he confronted her and she admitted to taking the money, because she had cancer and needed it to pay bills.
Records from the bank show that more than $166,000 had been taken from Windsor's account without his permission.
Prosecuting attorney Layne Thompson said Monday that the cancer claim is a lie.
Public records show Simmons has a few theft convictions on her record, including one for a third-degree felony in Gregg County in 2006.
"This defendant has a prior felony theft out of Gregg County in 2007 also for a very substantial amount," Thompson said.