A Parker County jury sentenced a 49-year-old Weatherford woman to 10 years in prison for stealing about $116,000 from a Millsap company in a trial that concluded Tuesday in District Court in Weatherford.
Geraldine Renee Null, also known as Geraldine Bennett, pled guilty Monday to a theft over $100,000 but less than $200,000 charge and elected to have a jury assess her punishment. The jury of six men and six women took less than two hours to reach their verdict.
According to evidence presented at trial by Assistant District Attorneys Nikki Rhodes and Robert DuBoise, over the course of a year between 2014 and 2015, Null embezzled funds that she had access to in her capacity as a payroll administrator for GEODynamics. The embezzlement took the form of re-routing employees’ child support payments and disguising duplicate direct deposit checks issued in employees names but routing them to her bank account, according to the trial testimony of their employees.
After she quit at GEODynamics, Null went to work with Galveston I.S.D. as a payroll clerk and stole another $7,000 from them, according to records and testimony from the Galveston I.S.D. Director of Finance.
“The continuous nature of this theft and the fact that she even stole from a school district made this case particularly egregious,” Rhodes said. “According to her testimony and bank records, she spent the money buying a car and on clothes, jewelry, hotels, rental cars, pedicures, and other shopping.”
Null was the only witness for the defense and said that she got behind on her bills when her husband was arrested on a drug charge and she had to post his bond and hire him an attorney. She testified that stealing from her employer was her only choice.
Null will be eligible for parole when she has served a quarter of his sentence, according to Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain.
The case was tried in the 415th District Court, Judge Graham Quisenberry presiding.