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A Special Investigations Unit Report Regarding The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board

November 2003

Report Number 04-013

Overall Conclusion

On October 1, 2003, the District Attorney of the 39th Judicial District in Haskell, Texas, accepted a guilty plea to an Information for the offense of theft from defendant Terry J. Rodriquez, a former employee of the Haskell Soil and Water Conservation District (District). An Information is a formal charging instrument used by a prosecuting authority in lieu of a grand jury indictment. Ms. Rodriquez's plea to an Information resulted in quicker disposition without a formal trial.

An investigation by the State Auditor's Office Special Investigations Unit determined that Ms. Rodriquez misappropriated $5,702 of state funds and $1,196 of District funds while she was employed by the District. A review of District financial records conducted by a local certified public accounting firm revealed that Ms. Rodriquez had issued additional payroll checks to herself from two checking accounts for which she had responsibility for maintaining. The review identified 19 separate transactions made from January 1999 through August 2002 in which Ms. Rodriquez issued funds to herself that she was not entitled to receive. The Executive Director of the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board made the complaint regarding this matter to the State Auditor's Office.

The offense of theft in an amount over $1,500 and less than $20,000 is a state jail felony. Ms. Rodriquez was granted two years probation/deferred adjudication and was ordered to pay a $500 fine and court costs. She made full restitution of the theft amount to the District.

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