LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A second former La Michoacana employee has accepted a plea bargain deal of 10 years of probation for stealing thousands of dollars from the business.
Judy Olivia Franco, of Lufkin, appeared in Judge Paul White's 159th Judicial District Court for a plea hearing Monday morning. As part of the plea deal, Franco, pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge.
In addition to the probation, Franco will also be required to pay $30,340 in restitution, along with a $1,500 fine. In addition, Franco will have to serve 200 hours of community service.
Flor Alejandra de la Garza, Franco's co-defendant in the case, accepted a plea bargain deal last week. De la Garza, who is also from Lufkin, pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge and agreed to 10 years of deferred adjudication.
As part of the plea deal, Garza and Franco will be required to pay $36,000 in restitution. White told de la Garza that she will have to pay all of the restitution by herself if Franco doesn't do her part.
According to an arrest affidavit, the area manager at the store told police about an internal theft. She said Franco came to her and said she and a co-worker, de la Garza, had stolen a large amount of money while working for the company.
The affidavit stated Franco said that when she started her job in November 2012, she learned from de la Garza that the store was already missing $6,000. She then described how she and her co-worker worked together to use incoming bank money to cover up the stolen money taken from the deposit money bags over the next two years.
The affidavit stated the two co-workers admitted to their roles in stealing money, but neither kept a record of how much. Both admitted to taking amounts of $1,000 at first before they became larger, up to $3,000.
The store managers provided police with reports showing $36,340 missing from the store. De la Garza claimed responsibility for $10,000 and said Franco was responsible for $26,000, but Franco said she had taken $10,552, according to the affidavit.
Franco was arrested in December 2014, and Flor de la Garza was arrested in November of that year. Both women were released after they each posted a bail amount of $5,000.