WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The former City View Independent School District tax collector avoided prosecution by accepting a probation plea deal on his embezzlement charge.
Judith Heaston was due to go on trial last September but was granted an extension at the request of her lawyer. On Thursday, February 16, 2023, she pleaded guilty in the 89th District Court and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, suspended to 5 years probation.
Heaston is also required under her plea agreement to repay the $323,382 which an investigation and audit revealed she spent over a period of years.
Heaston was arrested in 2019 after City View superintendent Tony Bushong said he uncovered significant discrepancies involving large sums of money in tax office accounts.
After an internal investigation, it was determined that there was a shortage of tax revenue collected. The president of the tax software company told investigators the software had been manipulated to cover up the discrepancies and this manipulation was at least 8 years old.
A check from Heaston’s personal bank account showed numerous large cash deposits during tax office hours since 2002.
Heaston was arrested on February 6, 2019, after Bushong said he received a long text message from Heaston admitting to the thefts and saying he was “leaving this earth” to save his family from humiliation.
Wichita County Sheriff David Duke and a WCSO deputy went to check on Heaston at his home.
Duke said when they arrived at her home, they found her garage closed and a vehicle moving, so they went inside to find her in the car with the windows down and the garage full of exhaust. She was taken to the hospital for treatment.
One agent said when he later asked Heaston what happened to the money, she told him it was all over.
In March 2019, Wichita County signed a contract to have the county tax office take over the collection of City View ISD taxes.