A former City View ISD tax collector was convicted Thursday of embezzlement from the school district, court documents show.
Judith Ann Heaston, 67, pleaded guilty to theft of more than $300,000 and was ordered to pay CVISD restitution of $323,382, court documents show.
Heaston will pay $8,000 a month and a final payment of $7,382.51.
89th District Judge Charles Barnard sentenced Heaston to five years probation Thursday for the felony on Feb. 6, 2019. He also ordered her to pay a $750 fine and $345 court costs and perform $320 hours of service to the community.
The first-degree crime is punishable up to life in prison.
Heaston isn’t the only CVISD staffer to be scrutinized by law enforcement.
Four administrators accused of professional malpractice stemming from sexual abuse allegations at the school district are on personal leave until the next CVISD school board meeting on March 4.
Additionally, three former directors face the same charge in relation to sexual abuse allegations surrounding a now-deceased manager. Anyone accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty.
In Heaston’s case, a February 5, 2019 audit revealed a large discrepancy between what was owed to the state and what was collected as tax revenue, according to an affidavit.
CVISD Superintendent Tony Bushong, who is one of the current retired administrators, told Wichita County Sheriff’s Deputies that the financial situation was uncovered during an internal audit of the tax software, according to court documents.
A representative of the tax software company found a discrepancy of $323,382.51, as well as that the software was manipulated, according to court documents. The errors dated back to at least eight years ago.
Bushong told deputies that Heaston was the only employee with that level of access to use the software and the only City View tax bureau employee who submits property tax notices and makes collections and deposits.
When questioned, Heaston said the money was missing, court documents show.
His personal bank account records showed large cash deposits dating back to 2002 at times of the year when the school was open, according to court documents.
Bushong issued a statement in February, saying financial responsibility was a top priority, and launched an immediate investigation into the financial irregularity, referring the matter to the sheriff’s office for further investigation.
Trish Choate, a corporate surveillance reporter for the Times Record News, covers education, the courts, breaking news and more. Contact Trish with news tips at [email protected]. Her Twitter handle is @Trishapedia.