An Ashley County jury sentenced a Crossett woman to 206 years for multiple charges — including fraudulent use of a credit or debit card, forgery, theft of property and computer fraud — earlier this month.
A Crossett business owner contacted the Ashley County Sheriff’s Office in April 2018 after determining that his employee, Paula Martin, had spent an unauthorized $111,000 of company money. The ACSO’s records at that time indicated that Martin had used a debit card more than 300 times without authorization and entered the charges into the bookkeeping system to make it appear as though the charges were made for the company.
Investigating Officer Mark Grevier’s report said the total amount stolen was $214,000. Griever said that Martin was making multiple car payments a month on her personal vehicle and making ATM withdrawals at various casinos.
Martin pleaded guilty on July 2 and chose to have a sentencing hearing to be heard by a jury. After hearing the evidence, the jury came back with multiple sentences for a total of 206 years. Circuit Judge Sam Pope reduced the sentencing to only 60 years.
“The judge did not accept the recommendation of the jury and sentenced her to two thirty-year sentences,” Griever said. “Pretty much he made everything run concurrent except two thirty-year sentences, and she will be eligible for parole after 10 years,” Griever said.
Additionally, Martin was ordered to pay approximately $160,000 in restitution.
Griever, who was present at the sentencing hearing, said that he respects the sentence the jury gave, but also respects the judge’s decision to reduce it.
“The judge heard just as much as evidence as the jury,” Griever said.
“We have drug dealers and people who are charged with murder who don’t get that much time, but I completely respect whatever decision a jury makes and I still think we have the best justice system in the world.”
Even though the sentence was reduced, Griever said he feels that justice was served.
“I feel that is up to the victim in each case, and he has expressed that he feels justice was served,” Griever said.
Griever said that it is possible that the jury issued such a harsh sentence because this was not Martin’s first offense.
In 2017, Martin was charged theft and forgery for allegedly stealing approximately $60,000 from a different local business.
Martin pled guilty to the 2017 Forgery I and Theft of Property charges in February 2018. According to a sentencing order filed Feb. 5, 2018, Martin was sentenced to 120 months probation for Forgery II and 240 months probation for Theft of Property.
On April 23, Martin went before Pope for a revocation hearing on the charges she pled guilty to in 2018. The February 2018 sentence was conditional and when the new charges were filed in April 2018, her original sentence was revoked. After her revocation hearing in June of 2018, an additional sentencing order was entered sentencing her to 108 months in Arkansas Department of Corrections.
Griever said that Martin was in prison for the revocation sentence when she went before the jury this month.