APPEAL FROM THE SEBASTIAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FORT SMITH DISTRICT. No. CR-2012-979. HONORABLE STEPHEN TABOR, JUDGE.
David L. Dunagin, for appellant.
Dustin McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: Kathryn Henry, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
LARRY D. VAUGHT, Judge. HARRISON and BROWN, JJ., agree.
LARRY D. VAUGHT, Judge
Appellant Elizabeth Jeannette McClellan appeals the sentencing order entered by the Sebastian County Circuit Court finding her guilty of theft by deception. She was ordered to serve a six-year suspended sentence and pay restitution, fines, court costs, and fees. On appeal, McClellan challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting her conviction. We affirm.
At trial, Andrea Moore testified that she and McClellan were friends. McClellan, who had previously stated that she had taken tax-preparation courses in California, offered to prepare Moore's 2010 tax return. Moore agreed. McClellan prepared the return, and Moore subsequently received a refund. Moore testified that McClellan did not ask to be paid, but she treated McClellan to dinner.
McClellan also prepared Moore's 2011 return. Moore testified that McClellan did not give her (Moore) the opportunity to review the return; she was just told to sign the last page. Moore stated that she signed the return without reviewing it because she trusted McClellan and because she had prepared the 2010 return without any problems. Moore said that she told McClellan that she (Moore) preferred a refund check, but McClellan said it would be better to have the refund deposited directly into Moore's bank account. Moore agreed and gave her account information to McClellan. McClellan told Moore the refund would be approximately $5200.
Moore received her refund on March 21, 2012. It was $3346. Moore called McClellan to question the amount of the refund, and McClellan said that she would check into it. When Moore did not hear back, she reached out to McClellan, but she was evasive. A couple of weeks later, Moore received a letter from the IRS stating that, due to mistakes on the return, the requested refund amount of $8135 had been adjusted to $6181. The letter continued by stating that $3346 of the $6181 refund had been deposited into Moore's account and that the remaining $2835 had been deposited into another account, which was unknown to Moore. After receiving the IRS letter, Moore called McClellan reporting that the refund had been deposited into two accounts. McClellan said that she did not know why that happened and that she would " figure it out." Moore did not hear back from McClellan.
Thereafter, Moore took the IRS letter to the local IRS office, where she received printouts of the account information where the refund was deposited. Very upset, Moore called McClellan once again, advising that she had been to the IRS office. McClellan was furious, telling Moore that she had trust issues and that McClellan said she would take care of it. When Moore pressed McClellan, she said that she put part of the refund into an interest-bearing account for Moore's benefit and that they could go to the bank and transfer the funds into Moore's account. Moore gave McClellan the opportunity to meet at the bank to transfer the funds, but McClellan refused.
On April 24, 2012, Moore and her fiancé went to McClellan's home and asked her to go to the bank. McClellan said she needed to shower; Moore said that they would wait. McClellan became belligerent, ...