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2nd conviction in water company theft case

Brandon Johnson will avoid jail but not consequences.

SEARCY (KATV) - A major White County scandal, which occurred at least in part because of misplaced trust and a lack of oversight, came to a close today.

We wrap up a story KATV broke back in the spring of 2016.

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

While his boss turned a blind eye to Brandon Johnson's use of a company charge account, a jury of his peers refused to do the same.

That boss, Diana Woodle, has already served her time following her conviction of stealing close to $400,000 from the Southeast White County Water Association.

Woodle attended the trial of her former employee, who described her as a second mother to him, but she was not called to testify.

Johnson was authorized to use a company charge account at Lowe's. And for two years he did - often.

Prosecutors described it as a two-year joy ride.

Johnson bought over $10,000 in gift cards at Lowe’s - also dozens of 100 ounce bottles of laundry detergent, deer corn, a child safety seat, and items for his dogs.

All of this was paid for with money collected from customers of the small water company that he worked for based in Higginson.

Johnson's attorneys argued the purchases were authorized. Johnson argued he didn't think he was doing anything wrong.

Jurors didn't buy it.

"Brandon was disappointed in the decision with regards to his guilt,” says defense attorney Josh Hurst. “He is obviously glad to have the opportunity to be out with his family, continue to work and try to work towards putting all this behind him."

After talking it over for about 30 minutes, the jury decided that five years of probation is the punishment that best fits this crime and this defendant.

Brandon Johnson left afterwards without comment.

Jurors deliberated for 90 minutes before finding Johnson guilty.

The jury also recommended a $10,000 fine.

Air date: November 14th, 2018

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