from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 310, 684 Honorable Katherine
Clark Dorroh, Judge
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Peggy J. Sullivan Counsel for
EDWARD STEWART, SR. District Attorney REBECCA ARMAND EDWARDS
JOSHUA K. WILLIAMS Assistant District Attorneys Counsel for
WILLIAMS, COX, and BLEICH (Pro Tempore), JJ.
bench trial, the defendant, Theresa Robinson
("Robinson"), was convicted of felony theft under
La. R.S. 14:67. She received a suspended five-year hard labor
sentence with five years' supervised probation and was
also ordered to pay full restitution. Robinson appeals her
conviction, arguing the evidence was insufficient for a
conviction. For the following reasons, we affirm.
August 2012, the owners of Bailey Bark Materials
("Bailey Bark"), a landscaping business with
offices in Shreveport, Louisiana, and Nacogdoches, Texas,
obtained access to the Shreveport office's accounting
records from the bookkeeper, Robinson, for preparation of the
company's 2011 tax return. For accounting purposes, the
company used QuickBooks software, with a point of sales
component for printing out a daily sales summary showing the
total sales for the day by payment type and an accounting
software component that calculated and recorded daily
deposits and reconciled them to monthly bank statements.
review by a certified public accountant ("CPA"),
numerous irregularities, including large numbers of uncleared
deposit transactions, were discovered. Uncleared deposits
result from deposits entered into the software that are not
matched with deposits actually made to the bank and reflected
on the month-end bank statements. The CPA determined that a
user signed in under the "Administrator" login and
made frequent changes to deposit transactions sufficient to
raise concern that the company bank reconciliations may be
advice of the CPA, the Nacogdoches office bookkeeper
re-performed the Shreveport office's monthly
reconciliations for 2011 and 2012 by using the
"undo" feature in QuickBooks. The newly prepared
bank reconciliations confirmed a pattern of uncleared
deposits from January 2011 through August 2012 that resulted
in more than a $100, 000 shortage to the business. Further
investigation revealed that each of the uncleared deposits
matched cash received by the business on the date of the
deposit. After the company co-owner, Jeff Bailey, addressed
all four Shreveport employees in mid-August 2012, no further
uncleared deposits occurred.
Bailey Bark enlisted the services of David Macey, an
accountant certified in fraud examination. In his October 24,
2012, report, Macey confirmed that more than $100, 000 of the
company's money had been lost or stolen. He recommended
that all Shreveport employees be considered suspects, but
named Robinson as a person of particular interest because she
was responsible for preparing the bank reconciliations
throughout the period and should have at least notified the
company of the accumulation of uncleared deposits.
October 29, 2012, one of the office managers of Bailey Bark
filed a theft report with the Caddo Parish Sheriff's
Office. After interviews with the four Shreveport employees,
investigators learned Robinson was responsible for entering
the deposit information into the QuickBooks accounting
software. Robinson was brought in for an interview and
informed of her rights, but refused to speak and requested an
attorney. Thereafter, Robinson was arrested and charged with
Robinson was tried by bench trial and found guilty as
charged. The trial court denied motions for new
trial and post-verdict judgment of acquittal raising issues
of the sufficiency of the evidence to convict Robinson.
Robinson was sentenced to a suspended sentence of five years
at hard labor and placed on five years' supervised
probation with full restitution of $20, 000 annually over a
five-year period as part of her probation. She was also
ordered to pay court costs and a $50 monthly fee to the
Indigent Defender's Office or to serve default time of 30
days in jail.Robinson appeals her conviction, urging
that the State's evidence was insufficient to convict
standard of appellate review for a sufficiency of the
evidence claim is whether, after viewing the evidence in the
light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier
of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime
proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Jackson v.
Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560
(1979); State v. Robinson, 50, 643 (La.App. 2 Cir.
6/22/16), 197 So.3d 717. This standard, now legislatively
embodied in La.C.Cr.P. art. 821, does not provide the
appellate court with a vehicle to substitute its own
appreciation of the evidence for that of the factfinder.
State v. Sullivan, 51, 180 (La.App. 2 Cir. 2/15/17),
216 So.3d 175. The appellate court does not assess the
credibility of witnesses or reweigh evidence. State v.
Dale, 50, 195 (La.App. 2 Cir. 11/18/15), 180 So.3d 528,
writ denied, 2015-2291 (La. 4/4/16), 190 So.3d 1203.
A reviewing court accords great deference to the
factfinder's decision to accept or reject the testimony
of a witness in whole or in part. State v. Randle,
49, 952 (La.App. 2 Cir. 6/24/15), 166 So.3d 465; State v.
Casaday, 49, 679 (La.App. 2 Cir. 2/27/15), 162 So.3d
578, writ denied, 15-0607 (La. 2/5/16), 186 So.3d
Jackson standard is applicable in cases involving
both direct and circumstantial evidence. An appellate court
reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence in such cases must
resolve any conflict in the direct evidence by viewing that
evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution. When
the direct evidence is thus viewed, the facts established by
the direct evidence and inferred from the circumstances
established by that evidence must be sufficient for a
rational trier of fact to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt
that the defendant was guilty of every essential element of
the crime. State v. Luzzo, 2016-0289 (La.App. 4 Cir.
3/1/17), 214 So.3d 55. Circumstantial evidence consists of
proof of collateral facts and circumstances from which the
existence of the main fact may be inferred according to
reason and common experience. State v. Worthy,
2016-0431 (La.App. 4 Cir. 10/5/16), 203 So.3d 372. A
conviction based upon circumstantial evidence must exclude
every reasonable hypothesis of innocence. La. R.S. 15:438;
State v. Alexander, 2014-1619 (La.App. 1 Cir.
9/18/15), 182 So.3d 126, writ denied, 2015-1912 (La.
1/25/16), 185 So.3d 748.
elements of the crime of theft are: (1) there must be a
misappropriation or taking; (2) the misappropriation or
taking must be of a thing of value; (3) the thing must belong
to another; and, (4) the misappropriation or taking must be
with the intent to deprive the other permanently of that
which is the subject of the taking. State v. Bailey,
50, 097 (La.App. 2 Cir. 9/30/15), 180 So.3d 442. The
prosecution must also prove the value of the stolen thing
because the value is determinative of both the severity of
the offense and the degree of the punishment upon conviction.
appeal, Robinson argues that no direct evidence established
she took any money or made the deposits in question, and the
remaining circumstantial evidence established other employees
had access to the money and computers used to make sales and
deposits and reconcile bank accounts. For these reasons,