Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office
May 31, 2018, 400th District Court Judge Maggie Perez-Jaramillo convicted
Lucia Villuendas of Theft of Property, Misapplication of Fiduciary Property,
and Money Laundering after the defendant plead guilty to the crimes. The court then sentenced Villuendas to 15
years in prison and ordered her to pay $257,438.78 back in restitution. The 40-year-old Houston woman was prosecuted
for stealing and concealing funds from her employer from 2014 to 2016.
the financial coordinator at Westpark Springs Hospital, and in that role, was
responsible for administering payroll. Villuendas
manipulated direct deposit payments by adding terminated employees back onto
the payroll schedule and replaced the terminated employees’ bank information
with her and her husband’s bank account information. Westpark Springs is still in the process of
recovering from the economic damage caused by the defendant’s theft.
presented evidence to the Court during the sentencing hearing that the
defendant, while on bond in this case, stole over $90,000 from a new employer
in Harris County during the past year. Villuendas
used $70,000 of those stolen funds to attempt to repay restitution in this case. The defendant used the remaining balance of
$20,000 for personal expenses such as nail salon visits. Judge Jaramillo also heard evidence that the
defendant committed a felony theft in 1999 and had served a 5-year probation
term in Harris County.
Based on the
amount of theft, the defendant’s willingness to commit a new offense while on
bond, and the defendant’s willingness to use stolen funds to repay restitution,
the prosecution argued that the defendant should serve time in prison because
she could not be trusted in the community.
Defense counsel argued that Villuendas and her coworkers were victims of
racism and discrimination and that the defendant stole from the company to
support the terminated workers. The
defense offered no testimony or evidence showing the defendant and other
employees were victims of discrimination and the defense offered no evidence
that the defendant actually shared the stolen funds. The prosecution rebutted the defense’s
arguments with evidence showing all the stolen funds were transferred to
Villuendas and her family, and that there were no records of complaints or
lawsuits relating to the defendant’s discrimination claim.
repeatedly betrayed the trust of her employers and stole significant amounts of
money to support her lifestyle,” said Abdul Farukhi, lead prosecutor on the
case. “Businesses depend on trustworthy
employees and the court’s sentence will help protect our community from theft
and fraud,” Farukhi added.
Laundering and Misapplication of Fiduciary Property are all first-degree felonies
in this case, punishable by 5 – 99 years, or life, in prison and a fine up to
$10,000 on each case. Villuendas was
District Attorneys Abdul Farukhi and Brandon Draper prosecuted the case. Attorney Robert Valles, Jr. represented the