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Business Owner to Judge: Sentence Is a 'Disgrace'

Schenck Fuels owner Rodney Herrlin expresses his disappointment with the 30-day sentence his former bookkeeper received after being convicted for embezzlement.

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.

Respectfully,

Rodney C Herrlin
COO/Owner 

Jim January 10, 2013 at 06:05 PM
The judge needs to be relieved of his position. Just another example of our failing society and the lack of God and morals in our culture. Steal 1/2 million and get 30 days. Lets all sign on for that. Most have to WORK 10 years to get 1/2 million BEFORE TAXES!!!!!! Thanks Judge for doing such a good job on our dime.
Dana Kalbacher January 10, 2013 at 09:14 PM
It is a disgrace..you will prevail though..its a shame on the justice system.
Ralebird January 11, 2013 at 06:12 AM
She has to make restitution of $120,000 over the next five years, leaving over $300,000 not repaid, is that correct? That would be about one day in jail for each $10,000 plus she stole. If she serves only one day for each three of her sentence, she'll be paying a day for almost forty grand. Where do I sign up?
David Buda January 11, 2013 at 01:18 PM
I would love to hear from the office of the Suffolk County District Attorney, as to how the heck did they recommend such an absurd disposition.
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) January 11, 2013 at 01:42 PM
We have asked and are awaiting for a reply.
Donna Dazzo January 11, 2013 at 01:46 PM
This is awful and I feel so bad for Rodney. My blood is boiling just reading this. What the HE-- -- was that incompetent judge thinking? As a small business owner, if one of my employees stole money and all he/she got was 30 days (after over 2 years), I don't think I could handle it. All we can hope for is that someday she will get what she deserved now. It may not be a prison sentence, but it may be something else. And good luck trying to get that money back from her. She sounds like someone who would not be able to pay that back.
dont care January 11, 2013 at 03:11 PM
I wonder if the IRS is aware of her "earnings"?
sally January 12, 2013 at 01:43 AM
does mr herrlin have a civil case here?i hope so ,but he faces at least 5 more years in court ,lawyer costs &time out of his life .this is what these people bank on.what a horrible miscarriage of justice.yes,again,crime does pay....
Ralebird January 12, 2013 at 04:23 AM
Why is the judge not named here? We DO get to vote on these people, right?
Ralebird January 12, 2013 at 07:38 AM
Another story in another edition of Patch identifies the judge as James C. Hudson. Write that down.
1/2 n 1/2, 2 sugars January 12, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Just remember that the "judge" is not the final judge. There is a higher court of justice, some call it karma. Lets see how this will ultimately play out given some time. And also remember that it works both ways, Rodney and his family and associates will be repaid three fold. I don't care how much money the thief got, wouldn't want to be in her shoes for all the tea in China!
Barbara F January 12, 2013 at 01:11 PM
At first I thought I'd read the sentence incorrectly. Then I re-read it and couldn't believe it. He has insulted every small business owner with that sentence. We work hard to make a living out here. Shame on him.
Rick Hoyt January 12, 2013 at 02:22 PM
What a Devious Creature she was targeting a Family Business, I do Believe In Karma Though, she has sold her Soul.Hang In There Rodney, Chris and All The Loyal Employees ! Rebuild It Better and Stronger.

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