Aug 20, 2013
TEXAS CITY -- A county social services worker who pleaded guilty to stealing from her wards’ bank accounts paid $34,831 to a pool company shortly after she was fired, testimony revealed.
Sylvia Ann Villarreal, 47, of Hitchcock, who pleaded guilty to stealing from her county social services wards, returned to to Judge John Ellisor’s 122nd District Court in Galveston today for the conclusion of her punishment hearing.
Villarreal, who managed finances for wards of the county’s Probate Court, stole $55,520 from accounts of four of her wards, some after they had died.
Her thefts went undetected until a Texas City nursing home sent an eviction notice to the county for one of her wards.
Villarreal would deposit Social Security checks, then cash checks from their accounts in similar or same amounts.
Villarreal was fired in March of 2010, after nearly 15 years on the job. From May to July of that year she paid a custom pool company $34,381 from her personal bank account.
From Jan. 1, 2007, to Nov. 30, 2010 Galveston County deposited $94,270 in salary into her account, but she spent $210,277 during that time, it was learned.
That figure also could have included roughly $88,000 that Villarreal cashed out in retirement savings and child support she was receiving from a previous marraige.
Villarreal pleaded guilty June 17 to the second-degree felony charge of theft by public servant. She faces between two to 20 years in prison.