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Walmart Cindy Hufford

They say crime doesn’t pay. But sometimes, it seems, coupon crime kind of does.

A Texas judge has ruled that a Walmart employee arrested last year for stealing more than $70,000 from her employer, will not serve jail time and will have her criminal conviction wiped away if she behaves herself for the next two years.

Not behaving herself on the job, was what got 44-year-old Cindy Hufford of Elgin, Texas in trouble to begin with. The well-coiffed woman who generated as much buzz for her ‘do, as for her deeds, was arrested in October 2013, after the North Austin Walmart’s asset protection manager said he caught her stealing from the cash room.

Hufford’s job was to count the money from each cash register, and reconcile all of the cash, credit cards, checks and coupons. But when she was on duty, according to her arrest warrant, “there was a very large discrepancy between the amount in coupons that the store was actually taking in, compared with the amount in coupons that Cindy Hufford was entering into the computer for her daily counts.”

Walmart investigators said they had determined that Hufford was inflating the amount of coupons in each register, usually by $100 each, then pocketing a crisp hundred dollar bill from the till for herself each time.

And this had apparently been going on for at least a year and a half.

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During that time, Walmart said Hufford had lined her pockets with a grand total of $72,620, by falsifying records to make it appear that Walmart had taken in that same amount in nonexistent coupons.

On the day that Walmart called police, according to the arrest warrant, video surveillance showed Hufford taking $100. When confronted, she allegedly confessed and handed back the hundred dollar bill – along with 25 others that she said she had taken over the past few days. In a written confession, Hufford said she “doesn’t honestly know how long” she had been taking money, or how much she had taken, though she estimated it to be about $300 a day.

Hufford was charged with felony theft, and pleaded guilty this past October, a year after her arrest. She was sentenced this month to two years deferred adjudication, a type of probation, after which the case and the felony charge will be considered dismissed.

Other than a $200 fine and various miscellaneous court fees, court records do not show whether Hufford was ordered to pay any restitution. Her arrest warrant does indicate that she gave back at least $2,600, so it’s possible that she had already arranged to give back the rest of the $70,000 before her sentencing.

But if the punishment for taking more than $70,000 from your employer is just to give the cash back after you’re caught – and you don’t have to serve jail time or have a criminal conviction on your record – that’s not a bad deal. It’s not exactly a deterrent for others who might want to try the same thing.

And you thought couponing at Walmart was hard. It seems it’s a lot easier in the back room – and you don’t even need any actual coupons.

Image sources: Walmart / Austin Police Department

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Empleada de Walmart fue sentenciada por fraude de cupones de 72,000

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