Saturday, July 19, 2008

A life ruined

A simple message:

Don't break the public trust.

Don't do drugs.

Don't steal.

Former Poteet official gets 12-year sentence
Sara Inés Calderón - Express-News

JOURDANTON — Former Poteet city secretary Cathy Sue Leal was sentenced to 12 years in prison Friday for embezzling $172,000 from 1999 through 2001.

Visiting Judge Fred Shannon accepted prosecutors’ recommendation for prison time and ordered Leal to pay a fine of $10,000 and $172,000 in restitution to her former employer.

Douglas Daniel, Leal’s attorney since she was indicted in January 2006, had asked Shannon for leniency, requesting less than 10 years’ probation because it was her first criminal offense and she needed help with a substance abuse problem. He also said her conviction was due to political pressure.

A jury found Leal guilty Thursday of 36 counts of misapplication of fiduciary property, a second-degree felony that carries a penalty of two to 20 years in prison.

Krystle Hons, an Atascosa County probation officer, testified Friday that Leal was unable to meet the conditions of a 2006 bond after she was indicted.
Hons cited Leal’s frequent absences for weekly appointments because of transportation problems and said Leal eventually stopped attending altogetherAfter Leal’s probationary period ended, she was to continue reporting to the probation office, but has failed to do that since Feb. 2007, she said.

Hons said Leal tested positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine use.
“Based on her behavior I don’t think that she is a good candidate for probation,” Hons said, adding that it is doubtful Leal could pay the fees associated with probation because she has been unemployed since 2005.

Leal told the judge she was ashamed and sorry that she was “involved” with the crime.
“I would do anything to stay on probation,” she said, adding that she was ashamed her children would have to live with her legacy.

When Shannon pronounced sentence, Leal broke down in tears, bowing her head.

“I’m sorry, Ms. Leal,” Shannon told her. “Good luck to you.”