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Sugar Land Woman Pleads Guilty to Stealing More than $1 Million from Employer

(SUGAR LAND) – A Sugar Land woman has pleaded guilty to felony theft and money laundering and has been sentenced to 18 years in prison. Mary McDonough, 42, swindled her employer out of more than a million dollars before she was discovered. McDonough waived her right to a jury and requested the court to determine her consequences.

Mary McDonough

According to lead prosecutor Susan Sweeney, McDonough was responsible for a Sugar Land real estate developer’s business accounts for eight years between 2010 and 2018. Through unauthorized payroll and direct payments to her personal credit card, the defendant was able to divert more than $1.3 million for her own benefit. McDonough began her thefts by cashing her very first paycheck twice in 2010 and continued to inflate her own payroll over eight years. As she gained the developer’s trust, the defendant also used one of the business accounts to pay approximately 80 percent of the $1.1 million in charges she made on one of her personal credit cards.

Fort Bend County District Attorney Fraud Examiner Betty Chi testified that in 2012 the defendant built a new home with a pool. Chi also summarized that the defendant’s significant credit card purchases included brand-name and boutique clothing for women and children, furniture, home décor and other personal expenses that did not appear to be necessities.

The evidence also showed that McDonough had previously completed an 18-month deferred adjudication probation for stealing $1,100 from a store where she worked in her teens.

Witnesses and records showed that just prior to working for the developer, the defendant was terminated from an oil services company for making personal charges on the company’s credit card. The oil services company did not file criminal charges against McDonough.

The victims in the current case testified that the family knew McDonough since she was in high school. The developer discovered the defendant’s thefts after learning that the defendant had been shredding bank statements and cancelled checks. Shortly after her shredding was discovered, the defendant began calling in sick and banks notified the victim that the victim’s accounts were overdrawn. The victim also discovered that some of the victim’s computer records had been deleted.

“There is no realistic chance for financial restitution from the defendant, and there was very little expression of remorse other than her plea of guilty,” said Sweeney. “Considering all the damage done, both personal and financial, a prison sentence was just in this case.”

“White collar crime is expensive, and the costs are often passed to consumers and other businesses. The sentence in this case was just relative to the harm that was caused by the defendant,” said District Attorney Brian Middleton.


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