Brownwood

Brownwood man indicted for stealing money from employer

BROWNWOOD, Texas - A Brownwood man is accused of stealing more than $127,000 from an oil business that he worked for.

Brown County deputies arrested John Lykes, 43, on May 13. Court records state that he stole money during a four-year period from his employer at the time, M and F Gauge.

The company's vice president said the news hurt the business owners and the employees.

"Everyone is really just disappointed," said Brent Huxford, who also serves as general manager. "You put so much trust in people. You take care of them the best you can. You don't expect them to go behind your back and hurt you like that."

Huxford said he first noticed money was missing in the summer of 2015. He looked over the company's quarterly statements and found records of checks made out to Lykes from 2011 to 2015.

Lykes was fired in July. The company's insurance wouldn't cover the employee theft, and Huxford said the company had to absorb the losses as the price of oil declined.

"Of course that was during the oil field recession as well. While it wasn't a sole determining factor, I mean that definitely was something we could've used to invest," Huxford said. "We went from about 36 [employees] to ... 19 now."

Brown County Deputy John Fincher was the lead investigator of the case. He said Lykes wrote checks to himself and a business he owned in Brownwood – Heart of Texas Martial Arts and Fitness.

"I just followed the money trail, that's what you do in these white collar crimes," Fincher said. "I never had the chance to interview him about this. His lawyer denied me access."

Fincher presented his case to a grand jury and Lykes was indicted in April. He faces a 2nd degree felony aggregated theft charge, according to his indictment.

KTXS reached out to Lykes for comment, but he did not respond.


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