A former payroll official who stole about $116,000 from the Millsap company where she worked has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
During a trial that ended Tuesday, Geraldine Renee Null, 49, of Weatherford testified that stealing the money from GEODynamics in Millsap was her only choice because her husband was arrested on a drug charge and she had to post his bail and hire an attorney for him.
But bank records indicated she also spent the money, which she stole from 2014 to 2015, on a car, clothes, jewelry, hotel accommodations, rental cars and pedicures.
After she quit the Millsap company, Null went to work as a payroll clerk with the Galveston school district, where she was accused of stealing $7,000, according to records and testimony this week from a Galveston school official.
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Null will be eligible for parole when she has served a quarter of her sentence, according to Parker County Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain.
Null, who also uses the name Geraldine Bennett, pleaded guilty Monday to a charge of theft over $100,000 but less than $200,000 and elected to have a jury assess her punishment.
The jury of six men and six women took less than two hours to reach a verdict Tuesday in 415th District Court.
After the verdict, Null was taken into custody.
Prosecutors Nikki Rhodes and Robert DuBoise presented evidence that from 2014 to 2015, Null embezzled funds that she had access to in her capacity as a payroll administrator for GEODynamics.
The embezzlement took the form of rerouting employees’ child support payments and disguising duplicate direct deposit checks issued in employees’ names, routing them to her bank account, according to testimony of company employees.
“The continuous nature of this theft and the fact that she even stole from a school district made this case particularly egregious,” Rhodes said Tuesday in a news release.
Null was the only witness for the defense.
Authorities are still investigating her in the Galveston case.
“There was an initial amount that was stolen, but they got it back from her (out of her last paycheck and the remainder with money orders),” Swain said Wednesday in an email.
But prosecutors discovered additional money missing from the school district in a pretrial review of Null’s bank records, Swain said.