Embezzler receives probation but must pay money back

TEXARKANA, Texas — A Bowie County district judge told a woman who embezzled more than

TEXARKANA, Texas — A Bowie County district judge told a woman who embezzled more than $135,000 from a local beauty supply store that her victims didn’t want her to receive probation but they want their money back, at a sentencing hearing Wednesday.

Denesha Ann Douglass, 39, pleaded guilty last month at a hearing before 5th District Judge Bill Miller with the help of Texarkana lawyer Derric McFarland.

Because her plea agreement included probation, Miller ordered a presentence investigation and set the case for sentencing Wednesday.

After reading a report on the presentence investigation, Miller agreed to probation but admonished Douglass that her victims, the owners of State Beauty Supply in Texarkana, Texas, expressed the opinion that probation is too light of a punishment. Probation, however, is an avenue through which victims may recoup restitution for the financial damage a crime causes.

Douglass did not walk out of the Bi-State Justice Building on Wednesday. As a condition of her probation, Miller ordered a 120-day jail sanction which Douglass began serving at the conclusion of Wednesday’s hearing.

Miller also ordered a $10,000 fine and 240 hours of community service as well as court costs and other fees. Miller placed Douglass on a term of deferred adjudication probation which he warned is a “double-edged sword” and a “two-way street.”

Should Douglass successfully complete her 10-year probation, including paying all restitution, fines and costs and while avoiding drugs, alcohol and criminal conduct, she will not have a final conviction on her record. If Douglass violates her conditions of probation, the order deferring adjudication in her case could be set aside, a judgment of guilt entered and Douglass could be ordered to serve up to 10 years in prison.

That possible 10-year prison term could be assessed at any time during the 10-year probation and might not be reduced because of time on probation.

Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter said the victims in the case provided a written statement regarding the impact of the crime and are in contact with Bowie County probation.

Douglass was taken into custody at the end of the hearing.