$1M bond for clerk in embezzlement case

HOUSTON Marcia Delcarmen Sinclair, 43, of Houston, had a preliminary bond of $12 million set after her arrest Monday on a charge of felony theft from Gulf Coast Window Covering. She had been an accounts receivable clerk for 16 years for the company.

On Thursday, Judge Michael McSpadden of the 209th District Court reduced the bond and accepted Sinclair's not guilty plea at formal arraignment.

An investigation by the Major Fraud Division of the Harris County District Attorney's Office led to her arrest. Court records state that Sinclair allegedly diverted payments from company customers to her own accounts from 2004 through February 2008.

Prosecutor Lester Blizzard said Sinclair used the stolen funds to pay for exotic items and luxurious travel to the Bahamas, London and other tourist destinations. Closer to home, she spent about $250,000 for apparel at Neiman Marcus, and acquired extensive collections of expensive shoes, designer sunglasses, artwork and furnishings for her home, Blizzard said.

Blizzard argued that the bond should remain in the $1-million range because of the seriousness of the charge, and that investigators have yet to account for some of the funds alleged to have been stolen.

"It is an incredible abuse of trust," he said in the hearing.

The offense of first-degree theft carries punishment ranging from 5 years to 99 years or life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

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