- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A judge has ordered that a Lexington Park woman serve eight years and six months in prison for failing to pay most of the $202,638 in restitution that she agreed to return when she pleaded guilty to stealing the money from a former employer.
Joy Renee Pauley, now 48, stole the money from Vincent Whittles’ Serv-Pro and Vincent Enterprises Ltd. businesses while working from 1997 to 2009 as his office manager, by obtaining cash advances, altering transactions with contractors and collecting unauthorized vacation and commission payments, according to district court charging papers filed by St. Mary’s detectives. In 2011, Pauley was ordered to start paying the money back to the former employer and an insurance company as she began an 18-month jail sentence with work-release privileges.
St. Mary’s Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel J. White said at a court hearing this month that $152,000 has not yet been paid, and Whittles told the judge that the loss has impacted all of the company’s employees.
“Their quality of life has changed because of the actions of Ms. Pauley,” Whittles said, through her conduct of “not just stealing from me, but stealing from all my team.”
Whittles added, “We treated her like family. I didn’t realize for 10 years that she was stealing from me. We’re not going to get this money back. She’s never going to pay it.”
Whittles said the company lost “almost half a million dollars” through the actions of Pauley and Kevin Maurice Adams, a 40-year-old Mechanicsville man who court records state pleaded guilty in 2012 to a theft conspiracy charge and agreed last year to pay $136,307 in restitution, in part by turning over $41,276 in retirement benefits. At a separate court hearing last month, a motion to dismiss a charge that Adams had violated the terms of his probation was stayed to see if a wage withholding plan can be set up for Adams to pay the rest of his restitution requirement.
The prosecutor said last week at his office in the county courthouse that Adams worked for Whittles’ company on a cleanup crew, and was overpaid by Pauley.
At Pauley’s plea hearing in 2011, her lawyer at that time said that $53,700 she had in a retirement fund also would go toward the restitution. During this month’s probation violation hearing, Pauley said that she has provided weekly paperwork and financial statements to the state’s attorney’s office showing her wages from two part-time jobs, earning $190 every two weeks and receiving food stamps.
White asked her, “The money that you had is all gone?”
“Every penny,” she replied.
Sean Moran, Pauley’s public defender, argued that “she’s been complying to the best of her abilities and paying [the restitution] to the best of her abilities. I think she’s doing the best she can. She probably agreed to pay something she could not pay in her lifetime.”
Pauley said, “I’m very sorry for what I’ve done. Every day, I pay for this. I am doing everything I can. I’m looking for better employment all the time. I want to make what’s wrong, right.”
Circuit Judge Michael J. Stamm reimposed the suspended portion of Pauley’s 10-year prison sentence, and converted the unpaid restitution balance to a judgment against her.
“The business owner here treated you like a family member, ... and was rewarded by horrific acts on your part,” Stamm said. “I don’t think you’ve made a good-faith effort. You said that you could make that payment.”