The Importance of Doing a Proper Investigation — Linda Hixson and Sherry McMullen, Two Employees Accused of Embezzlement, Cleared and Awarded $850,000 by a Jury

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Update November 9, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Two former employees who were accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from a McMinnville dental practice were not only cleared of any wrongdoing, they were awarded nearly $850,000 by a jury.

In 2015, Linda Hixson and Sherry McMullen were arrested and charged with theft, credit card fraud, forgery and computer crimes from Advanced Smile Design, a family-owned dental practice in McMinnville.

The practice is owned by Dr. James P. Nelson.

Court documents revealed Hixson worked for Nelson for 23 years and McMullen for 24 years when Nelson filed the complaint against them.

After a 13-day trial, a jury found them not guilty of any wrongdoing and said Nelson, through Advanced Smile Design, “maliciously initiated criminal proceedings” against both of them.

The jury then awarded Hixson $425,000 in damages, while McMullen was awarded $413,596.

In a statement to KOIN 6 News, the Hixson family said:

“We’d like to thank the jurors for acting on behalf of the local community to finally bring justice in this case. Their unanimous decision gives vindication to our families, and we can now move on from this unwarranted and malicious transgression.”

Nelson’s office referred a call for comment from KOIN 6 News to their attorney, Mitchell J. Cogen. In a statement to KOIN 6 News, Cogen said:

“We appreciate the jury’s service, but we are very disappointed with the verdict. The evidence at trial did not support the jury’s verdict and we are considering all available post-trial options.”

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