Fannin Co. Couple Pleads Guilty In Embezzlement Case - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Fannin Co. Couple Pleads Guilty In Embezzlement Case

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FANNIN COUNTY, TX -- A woman accused of embezzling nearly a million dollars enters her plea in court, and prosecutors say she was eventually caught because of her high rate of attendance.

Prosecutors say the former Fannin County Electric Co-op clerk now admits to stealing large sums of cash. "Over a period of four years or more, she stole more than $800,000," says District Attorney Richard Glaser.

Tabitha Caplinger, 41, was sentenced to seven years in state prison. Her husband Jimmy Caplinger, 41, admitted to third degree theft and got 10 years probation.

"Well, it's not very long for that much money, is it?" says neighbor Bill Lynn.

"I'm sorry for the kids and you know don't really feel sorry for her that's what I told them, I said because she chose to do what she did," says neighbor Shereta Henkel.

Prosecutors say Tabitha Caplinger was in charge of training other billing clerks. "She was able to not only collect the money as it came in, but code it for billing purposes and cover her tracks," says Glaser.

"Stuff like that happens all the time and it's just one more case," says neighbor Paul Henkel.

Prosecutors say a majority of the missing money, about $500,000, came from a single electricity account with the city of Irving, which has a pump at a reservoir in Fannin County, but no one in Irving apparently noticed a problem with their bill.

"Their bills are usually so high that they wouldn't see the difference in $5,000 or $6,000 in a bill," says Glaser.

Leonard Municipal Utility District did, but it was something else that caused more concern. "She had not taken vacation for a long period of time, because if she was ever out of the office, that might lead people to discover the theft," says Glaser.

Prosecutors say the Caplingers lost much of the money at Choctaw Casino. "They had records of her gambling up there and she'd lost over $400,000," says Glaser.

Tabitha Caplinger asked to attend her son's high school graduation and the judge agreed. She has been ordered to begin her sentence on June 8. We were not able to reach the Caplingers for comment on Friday afternoon.