APPEAL FROM THE HOT SPRING COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. No. 30CR-12-203-2. HONORABLE CHRIS E WILLIAMS, JUDGE.
Jeff Rosenzweig, for appellant.
Dustin McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: LeaAnn J. Adams, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
LARRY D. VAUGHT, Judge. GLADWIN, C.J., and WALMSLEY, J., agree.
LARRY D. VAUGHT, Judge
Appellant Kennetha Henson appeals from her conviction for theft of property under Ark. Code Ann. § 5-36-103 for embezzling money from Malvern Water Works, a department of the City of Malvern. She argues that the circumstantial evidence presented against her at trial was insufficient to sustain a conviction. We disagree and affirm.
Henson was an office manager at Malvern Water Works. Malvern Water Works accepted cash and checks from customers daily. On a fairly regular basis, the money drawers were balanced and closed out, and the cash and checks were kept in a safe room until they were deposited. The safe room was not locked during the day, and everyone in the office had access to it. Henson was responsible for making all bank deposits. Henson would sometimes make daily deposits, but she would also sometimes wait weeks between deposits. On some occasions, Henson deposited only checks, although there would have been cash to deposit every day.
Beginning in approximately 2006, during annual accounting audits, Henson began explaining account shortages as " deposits
in transit," which is an accounting term for deposits that have been made but do not yet appear on the bank statement. Specifically, Henson reported that funds that should have been deposited by December 31 of the preceding year were not actually deposited until the following year, which explained deficiencies in the previous year's account balance. This explanation for the deficiencies appears to have been acceptable to the auditors at the time. The discrepancies were not considered material by the auditors, given that the annual revenue for the Malvern Water Works was in excess of $20 million.
In 2011, during the audit for 2010, the auditors discovered more substantial discrepancies. They requested information from Henson about the deposits in transit she had reported for that year. Henson would not or could not provide the information. At that point, the office contacted the mayor of Malvern. Soon thereafter, the mayor instructed another employee to take over all duties related to depositing money. The employee taking over Henson's duties dicovered that there was approximately $150,000 missing from the safe room at the time, based on the current figures in the office's general ledger.
Henson was questioned about the missing money. She stated that she did not steal the money and asked whether, if she had, would she not have something to show for it. When pressed to provide specific information as to the deposits in transit that she had ...