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Jury Sentences Rosenberg Woman to 65 Years in Prison Following Theft from Sugar Land Company

(RICHMOND) - A Fort Bend County jury has sentenced Leslie Garcia to a total of 65 years in prison after finding her guilty of stealing more than $250,000 from a Sugar Land company. The 46-year-old Rosenberg woman was prosecuted for stealing money from her employer over two years – and on the heels of a prior conviction for the same conduct.

Leslie Garcia

The defendant worked in accounts payable for a company in Sugar Land. She was one of the highest paid employees among the office staff but stole $288,846.92 from the company over 22 months. Garcia opened a bank account and deposited 29 unauthorized checks into the account before her scheme was discovered.

In 2008, the defendant, then known as Leslie Garcia Mendez, was sentenced to eight years in prison for stealing $106,000 from a company in Rosenberg, again through unauthorized checks as well as giving herself an unauthorized pay raise and two unauthorized loans before being discovered by the owners. Garcia was discharged from parole just 47 days before she began stealing from the victim in the Sugar Land case. The business owners testified that they did not know about Garcia’s prior conviction.

Garcia testified at trial to deny that she was fired by the victims, that she opened the fraudulent bank account, and that she accessed any of the funds in that 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.”

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.”

Garcia was tried in the 400th District Court before Presiding Judge Tameika Carter. Theft and Misapplication of Fiduciary Property of $150,000 to $300,000 are both second-degree felonies punishable by 2-20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Because Garcia has a previous felony conviction, her punishment range was enhanced to 5-99 years, or life, in prison. Garcia was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the theft and 35 years for the misapplication of fiduciary duty charge. The sentences will be served concurrently. The jury also assessed the maximum $10,000 fine on both charges.

Assistant District Attorneys Susan Sweeney and John Brewer, both of the Economic Crimes Division, prosecuted the case.


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