Editor's Note: This statement was written to Suffolk County Criminal Court by Rodney Herrlin, the owner of Schenck Fuels Inc., and shared with East Hampton Patch.
Your honor, if I might say a few words:
I want to say thank you for finally getting us some closure on this case, although I find what has happened here a total disgrace and a mockery of the judicial system and all involved, an embarrassment to myself and any other business owner, that the law is not in favor of the hard working good people in business.
To have someone like Ms. Dewhirst set her sights on such long lasting company, steal upwards of $500,000, being indicted in Sept. 2010 and some two years and four months and 20 adjournments later she's being sentenced to what I consider a joke and a slap on the wrist, it is my opinion that she should rot in federal prision for the three to nine year that of which was originally on the table. For such thievery, the punishment doesn't fit the severity of the crime or the damage she inflicted on not only my family but many others who had worked for us and lost their jobs as a result of us having to sell off businesses to survive!
For a young lady to travel to the Bahamas and Florida as often as she did also buying Gucci bags and high-end shoes apparently with our money, then being so ignorant to the fact that no one might notice her roll in in a brand new Mercedes SUV is disgusting and heart wrenching to say the least. Then, getting pregnant to avoid prison, when she blatantly stated all the while working for us that "NO WAY AM I HAVING CHILDREN, I like to travel too much" — to basically walking with a sentence of 30 days in county jail (it our request your honor, that the FULL 30 days be served also) and five-year probation is unfathomable to me.
This is a woman who I believe had this planned from the very beginning and I'm sure her husband, friends and co-workers that she recommended for employment with us were also involved. This being said I guess the bottom line, it's shame on us for not picking up on it sooner, but when you have six businesses running with 70 plus employees, as the owners you have to trust someone.
This expierience has made it difficult for me to trust anyone. As a good Christian I believe people are good in general and would like to think I can trust them. My faith and trust in the Lord is stronger than ever. My faith and trust in people in general — not so much. My faith and trust in the judicial system is none existent at this point. Sad, but totally true.
We stand smaller yet stronger and there is something to be said for the saying, "Through Pain We Grow."
Thank you, Your Honor.
Rodney C Herrlin