Former office manager gets probation for stealing from Union Grove Water Supply Corp.

Published on Monday, 1 July 2013 15:18 - Written by BY PHILLIP WILLIAMS, Special Correspondent

GILMER -- A judge has placed the former longtime business office manager of the Union Grove Water Supply Corporation on 10 years probation and ordered her to pay $40,350 restitution after the woman admitted stealing from the firm, Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd's office announced today.

Janna L. Goza, 45, of Gladewater, was sentenced by 115th District Judge Lauren Parish on June 25 upon pleading guilty to "theft of property of the value of $20,000 or more but less than $100,000," Byrd's office said.

Among terms of her probation are 300 hours of community service, paying various fees and court costs, an alcohol/drug evaluation, and "theft classes," the office said.

Byrd represented the state at sentencing while attorney Scott Novy represented Mrs. Goza, Byrd's office reported.

Mrs. Goza, who worked for the corporation about 14 years in the same capacity, was placed on administrative leave in January 2012. The corporate board fired her in late February or early March of that year, Byrd said last July.

She turned herself in to authorities a few days after the county grand jury returned a sealed indictment against her last July 20, Byrd's office said. She had been freed on bond.

Last July, the district attorney said some members of the corporation's board met with him in late December 2011 after an individual brought a complaint to the board. Byrd said he and his investigator, Jon Warren, "very quickly . . . determined that there was a crime. We opened a full investigation at that point."

The money was allegedly stolen in "a continuous course of conduct going back to January 2010 until February of this year (2012)," he said last July.

Many of the corporation's customers "paid cash to pay their bills, but that cash never made it to the bank," Byrd said. Mrs. Goza "controlled all the money in accounts," ran the corporation's day-to-day operations, and "was generally the only one in the office," Byrd added.

He said he and Warren went through years of data on the corporation's bank accounts and business accounts, and that Warren had the firm's computer analyzed by an expert in what Byrd termed a "paper trail case."