LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A 40-year-old Lufkin woman received an 18-year prison sentence Monday for stealing more than $150,000 from her employer over the course of a period of about 18 months.
Judge Barry Bryan of the 217th Judicial District Court issued the sentence during a hearing Monday morning. Jamie Deniece Simmons pleaded guilty to the charge of second-degree felony theft on Sept. 17, and the judge ordered a pre-sentence investigation.
The Lufkin Police Department began investigating Simmons in January 2012 after a bank contacted them about fraud on one of their accounts, according to police reports. Mike Windsor of WINCO and 4W Ranch found checks dating back to 2010 made payable to Jamie Deniece Simmons, which he had not authorized.
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.
At the hearing in which Simmons pleaded guilty, prosecuting attorney Layne Thompson said Monday that the woman's cancer claim was 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 at the previous hearing.