Bench trial starts for Pollok man accused of stealing $100K from former employee

Jon Lacount (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Jon Lacount (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Pollok man accused of stealing more than $100,000 from his former employer appeared in the 59th Judicial District Court Tuesday for a bench trial.

Jon Thomas Lacount is charged with theft between $100,000 and $200,000, which is a state-jail felony. He was arrested by the Lufkin Police Department in December 2011, posted a $20,000 bail, and was released later that day.

Jon Lacount worked for East Texas Open MRI for several years receiving payments for accounting purposes. He was terminated on March 7, 2011. A grand jury indicted Lacount in December 2011 for theft that had been accounted for since February 21, 2006.

Anthony Lacount, Jon Lacount's cousin, was the first to take the stand. He testified that Jon Lacount had worked for him and never had a history of theft. He started to notice red flags in 2010.

"Quarterly reports were monitored and we discovered larger amounts being paid for management fee," Anthony Lacount said.

Employees were given an allowance for their phone bill and cars each month.

"He wrote checks to AT&T to pay his phone bill and I was made aware of a repair paid on his car of $500 paid with a company check, " Anthony Lacount said.

Diana McGraw a senior bank teller for the Bank of America branch on the loop took the stand and told prosecuting attorney, Katrina Carswell, that from 2009 to 2010 Jon Lacount often made deposits for Open MRI. "The deposits were never right. The cash was always short. We would see him drive up and know there would be some kind of problem," McGraw said.

McGraw stated other employees were also aware that Lacount's deposits were always problematic and that 90 percent of the time the cash amount had to be changed to match the deposit slip.

During the trial, Anthony Lacount said he met with Bank of America on Monday. "I met with Bank of America yesterday, and they stated there was no line of credit for Open MRI open with them," he said.

He began to investigate Jon Lacount's theft accusations on his own when he started to notice many red flags. Anthony Lacount said, "In Fall 2010, I started investigating and found a personal credit card under Jon Lacount's name for the company." He asked him to provide invoices in 2011, and he provided incomplete ones.

Three different credit cards were found under Jon Lacount's name. Anthony told the Carswell the company didn't have any credit cards. "They aren't cards on the company's name. They're cards that he used company checks to pay the debt with, Anthony said.

Jon Lacount was given an exit interview on March 7, 2011. Anthony stated his concerns about Jon's fake accounts and unauthorized raises. He told the defense he knew there was cash being taken when he compared deposit slips and dollar amounts made to Bank of America. During the exit interview, he said Jon told him, "If you're going to terminate me, quit playing games; and get it over with."

Anthony Lacount testified that no other employees were involved in these criminal acts, but they had suspicions about what Jon was doing.

Defense attorney Al Charanza said the trial will continue at a later date that has yet to be set. The DA's office and Charanza will get together Wednesday to look over the court calendar to set a date. The state will continue to present testimony when the bench trial reconvenes, then the defense will begin.

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