A former Mayflower court clerk accused of embezzling more than $2 million from the city by falsifying documents and deleting records during her tenure years ago has pleaded not guilty.
Sheila Ann Caudle faces three Class D felonies – abuse of an office, theft of property and tampering with physical evidence – following a years-long investigation.
On Wednesday, attorney Charles Daniel Hancock, who represents the Mayflower woman, filed a waiver of arraignment on Caudle’s behalf.
In the waiver, Hancock entered a not guilty plea for Caudle.
The arrest stems from an investigation that launched in September 2017 regarding funds that were unaccounted for within the Mayflower District Court following an Arkansas Legislative Audit. The investigation concluded Dec. 21, 2018.
Caudle began working for the city of Mayflower on Jan. 1, 2010, and she resigned from her position as court clerk on Aug. 16, 2014.
According to court documents, a legislative audit that was conducted prior to Caudle’s resignation showed that the Mayflower District Court’s cash receipts “exceeded cash bank account deposits by $4,963 for the period of January 1, 2012 through August 14, 2014.”
Because she was the custodian of those funds at the time, audit staff questioned Caudle about the funds on Feb. 12, 2015.
“Caudle indicated the cash shortage was due to cash refunds being given to individuals who overpaid with checks or money orders,” the probable cause affidavit filed formally Tuesday morning in Faulkner County Circuit Court reads in part. “Documented cash refunds totaling $1,690 were subsequently discovered, leaving $3,273 in unaccounted for cash.”
During the investigation, Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office investigator John Randall “discovered a lot of fraudulent activity” including:The work detail list. Destroyed city fines/fees receipt books. Altered judges-approved payment plans and refunds. Altered judge/clerk court dockets. Destroyed city court dockets. Payments that “were receipted and inputted in the system wrong.” Altered warrants lists. Dismissed charges, including one against Caudle’s son.
The investigation ultimately revealed a total balance of $2,066,441.52 in missing funds, according to court documents.
A court date has not yet been set regarding the aforementioned case.
Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at email@example.com.