GILMER -- A woman who pled guilty to stealing more than $450,000 from the Gilmer construction company where she was bookkeeper has been placed on probation at the victim's request, and has been ordered to pay restitution, Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd said Thursday.
Kimberly Faye Nix, 30, of Gilmer, was placed on 10 years "deferred adjudication" probation Tuesday by Judge Lauren Parish of the 115th District Court. However, the defendant must serve 90 days in county jail as a condition of probation, and can serve the term on weekends from 6 p.m. Friday-6 p.m. Monday.
Mrs. Nix was charged with theft of property of the value of $200,000 or more from Jimmy Stanley Construction. Since her probation was "deferred adjudication," no permanent conviction appears on her record if she successfully completes probation.
However, if such probation is revoked, she could be sentenced to anywhere from 5-99 years in prison.
Ms. Nix paid $75,000 restitution Tuesday and was ordered to pay $376,733 more. Her relatives mortgaged property to pay restitution, Byrd said.
In an affidavit, the construction company owner, Andrea Stanley Bunn, said she asked the defendant be given probation rather than prison time because "I feel this is the only way to recoup any monies stolen by Kimberly Nix."
"I understand that the District Attorney and his office wanted to send Kimberly Nix to prison. . .I, however, have asked that the District Attorney recommend to the Judge that Kimberly Nix be placed on probation. . .," Ms. Bunn said. Byrd said Ms. Bunn owns and manages the construction firm which bears the name of her father, who died unexpectedly in August 2009.
While Ms. Nix was charged with committing the offense on Feb. 1, 2010, Byrd said the state believes she stole the money over a period of about two years, ending around January 2011. Among other actions, she wrote checks to herself and took cash money off the top of deposits, he said.
The theft was uncovered when Ms. Bunn examined some bank records, Byrd said. Ms. Nix was fired, he said.
Byrd also said he told Ms. Bunn he thought the defendant should receive a prison sentence of "many years," and that he recommended probation only because the victim "strongly asked me" to.
"She thought that was the only chance she would have to recoup any money for the business," Byrd told The Tyler Paper. He said he talked to its building foremen, and they indicated the firm needed restitution because the theft hurt the business.
Ms. Nix, who was represented by Gladewater attorney Barry Wallace, was also ordered under terms of her probation to pay a $1,000 fine and perform 500 hours of community service.
She was scheduled to begin her jail term at 6 p.m. Friday.
Gilmer police investigated the case.