DALLAS — Heather Mounce owes $28,275.87 in fees following the restitution hearing that was held Oct. 17 and 18.
This hearing came after a change of plea on Oct. 7 and sentencing on Oct. 10, where Mounce pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree theft, 24 counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment and 24 counts of identity theft, and was issued 75 months in prison, concurrent with the time she is already serving, by Polk County Circuit Court Judge Norm Hill.
Mounce was originally charged with 98 counts of identity theft, theft and criminal mistreatment — all felonies — in July 2018. Thirty-three counts were dropped.
The court ruled that Mounce owes the following to OpenRoad Trucking Company for fraudulent invoices: $212.93 in mileage reimbursement; $2,273.48 for a Ben’s Truck Repair Invoice; $2,493.05 to Career Builder; $1,010.54 for an Expedia reimbursement; $716.92 to Amazon, and $304.09 to Walmart, for a total of $7,011.01,
Additionally, Mounce owes $21,264.86 to Dallas Retirement Village.
Defense attorney Timothy Park represented Mounce, who was present on Oct. 18.
On the first day of the hearing, Mark and Liz Weisensee, owners of OpenRoad Trucking Co., each took a seat in the witness stand to answer questions from prosecutor Sarah Lundstedt.
Lundstedt asked Mark Weisensee if he had paid Mounce a $7,000 bonus in 2017, to which he replied yes.
Lundstedt asked if Mounce had come to him a month later, asking him for help with paying some legal debt in the amount of $12,500.
Mark said yes, and that he had asked for documentation of the debt. It was then that Mounce offered him a forged document.
“I had a hunch the invoice was fake, but I paid it anyway,” Mark said.
“They (Weisensees) asked for the total amount of legal debt, they asked for verification, and she gave them a forged invoice for verification for the $12,500, but it was the verification for only $1,095.50,” Lundstedt said.
After paying those attorney’s fees, Lundstedt asked if Mark had, “asked her to obscure in any way the invoice so you wouldn’t have to pay payroll on the bonus that you were paying?”
Mark said no.
Lundstedt presented her claim to the court that Mounce should also pay the $11,404.50 that she took under false pretenses from the Weisensees — not the full amount, as the amount of $1,095.50 was legitimate legal debt with which Mounce needed help.
Park argued this claim.
“On this chain of emails, an email sent by you (Mark), it says, ‘When you (Mounce) get back, let’s confirm the amount and see if we can do any of it through accounts payable instead of through taxes,’” Park said,
“I was trying to pay it directly so that I could see the invoice,” Mark said.
Park said that wasn’t what the email said.
“In other words, you wanted to have it appear as a bill that your company was paying?” He said.
“So that I could see, because she always lied to me. Always. That’s why I’m here today,” Mark said.
“At that point I was in damage-control mode. I felt that it was wise for me to keep certain things stable so that I could sort through how to deal with what I needed to. She was marrying a very valuable friend and employee at the time, and I had not put all my thoughts together on how I was going to keep our company together with this person who was in a position so high up, that I made a horrible mistake in hiring.”
Park continued to argue that point, claiming that the Weisensees “felt like they were duped, and that they gave her a lot of money and this was under circumstances that they had suspicions, but they did it anyway, and they want recompense for it, but it doesn’t match up here, and I ask the court not to award it,” he said.
Although the defendant admitted to falsifying the legal debt document, Hill said the state didn’t present enough evidence for the $11,404.50 to be added into the restitution fees.
“There was suspicion that the $12,500 was false, but no evidence on record that, that is a real number,” Hill said.
The $12,500 was dropped as a result of the state not presenting enough evidence, leaving Mounce to pay a total of $28,275.87.
“I think that there are few things that are more of an affront to justice than stealing from one’s employer,” said Hill. “I think that small businesses are a critical element to our community; it keeps people employed. As I indicated at sentencing, the behavior that Ms. Mounce engaged in, both as to the amounts, the audacity that she went through and utilized and tried to obtain these, is reprehensible.”