On May 19, a jury in Fort Bend County found a 46-year-old woman from Rosenberg, Texas guilty of theft and misapplication of fiduciary property. According to the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, Leslie Garcia was sentenced to 65 years in prison. She had stolen money from her employer over the course of two years. This prosecution occurred right after a previous conviction for the same kind of crime.
Woman Sentenced to 65 Years in Prison After Stealing From Two Companies
Leslie Garcia was sentenced to 65 years for the Theft and Misapplication of Fiduciary Property. Image Credit: ort Bend County District Attorney’s Office | Click2Houston
Garcia had worked for a company in Sugar Land, Texas, where she was one of the highest-paid employees. But that didn’t stop her from stealing $288,846.92 over the course of 22 months. She deposited 29 unauthorized checks into a new bank account before her ruse was discovered. And this wasn’t her first rodeo.
In 2008, Garcia received an eight-year prison sentence for stealing $106,000 from a company in Rosenberg, Texas. Back then, she also utilized unauthorized checks to give herself a pay raise and two loans before the owners realized what she was doing. She got out from parole only 47 days when she began stealing from the company in Sugar Land. The owners stated they were not aware of Garcia’s previous crime. At trial, she tried to deny getting fired from the owners in addition to denying her stealing funds and the existence of her fraudulent bank account.
“The defendant tried to blame others for her choices, but bank records and certified government records do not lie,” said lead prosecutor Susan Sweeney. “The defendant knew her prior conviction could result in a long prison term if she embezzled money again, but still chose to violate the trust of another employer over and over again.”
Similarly, District Attorney Brian Middleton said, “White-collar crime is costly to the victims and to the economy. Investigating and prosecuting these crimes are time-intensive and complicated. I commend the investigators and prosecutors who worked hard to bring the defendant to justice. Leslie Garcia betrayed her employers’ trust and her sentence was appropriate considering her criminal history and the harm that she caused.”
Because of her previous conviction, Garcia faced 5 to 99 years or life in prison. In the end, Presiding Judge Tameika Carter sentenced Garcia to 30 years in prison for the stealing and 35 years for the misapplication of fiduciary duty charge. The jury also ruled the maximum fine of $10,000 fine on account of both of the charges.
Another Case of Stealing From a Company With Fraudulent Checks
This is far from the first time a woman in Texas stole money from her employer. In 2020, a federal judge sentenced Rosalinda Fuentes to 45 months in prison. She had stolen over $973,000 from her employer, according to the U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division. Additionally, Fuentes must pay $973,760.98 in restitution to her former employer. And after her prison time, she will be released and placed on supervision for one year.
“This case involved a blatant fraud — so blatant that it’s hard to believe the defendant thought she would get away with it. I’m pleased that today justice prevailed,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash.
In December 2019, Fuentes had pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. During this testimony, she revealed her scheme. She used names of previous and current employees to garner fraudulent paychecks to place money into controlled bank accounts. Then, she would hide the transactions from company records to conceal her theft.
The Texas Department of Public Safety had investigated this case with the FBI. “The San Antonio FBI shares a close working relationship with the Texas Department of Public Safety, which provides a full-time, seasoned investigator to partner with us on significant financial fraud investigations. This case is yet another example of how this relationship benefits both of our agencies as well as the citizens of San Antonio,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Combs.