Tracy woman pleads guilty to grand theft
by TP staff
Feb 08, 2011 | 8245 views | 13 13 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A Tracy woman on Monday, Feb. 7, pleaded guilty in court to stealing more than $65,000 from a local law firm.

According to Tracy police and the county district attorney's office, Maria Huerta stole the money while employed as a receptionist at lawyer Mark Connolly's Tracy office. The grand theft was discovered when the credit card account from which Huerta drew checks was found to have a large outstanding balance, when it should have been largely unused, the DA's office said.

Huerta also schemed to draw money from the firm's general fund account. She was able to conceal the theft, investigators explained, because she controlled the law office's mail and could intercept, alter and destroy incriminating evidence. Once caught, Huerta cooperated fully, confessing "at length" to the Tracy Police Department, specifically detective Kipp Loving, investigators said.

Huerta explained she first started her embezzlement as a way to pay back money she took from her husband's savings account. But her spending soon turned profligate, as she used stolen money to pay for gifts and trips to Reno, Disneyland and Las Vegas.

When she was arrested, investigators said, the only tangible thing left from the spending spree was two laptop computers. "This is not unusual in embezzlement cases," said Deputy District Attorney Stephen Taylor, explaining that embezzlers often have little to show for their spending. "The behavior we see in embezzlement cases is very compulsive." Huerta said that "I could not stop it myself" when she was caught, and she worked with police to tally how much money she took.

An exact figure was not released, and Connolly was not immediately available for comment. The Huerta case is only one of several being worked on by Tracy police, the DA's office said.

According to police statistics, embezzlement cases within Tracy's city limits dropped between 2009 and 2010. Still, police say that businesses should consider buying insurance as a hedge against employee fraud As well as monitoring who handles business communication.

Huerta was able to run her operation because she handled the law firm's mail.
Comments
(13)
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Ornley_Gumfudgen
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February 15, 2011
While it is sorta poetic justice fer Mark, considerin th thangs he's been instrumental in that ain't in th city's best interest, of course that's only an opinion, but if she did to th crime she should be held accountable fer it.

Fortunately Mark an his family are well healed an this monetary loss is really chump change. Not going ta lay awake at night worryin if this will adversely affect Mark an his family. It's kind difficult ta get upset at yer kids fer stealin a quarter out of yer pants pocket. Still, ya want em ta be responsible citizens an always do th right thang.

Wonder what happened in Mark's case? :) Nah, I really believe he means well but politics an money just sometimes gets inta th way.
ILovePeppermint
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February 15, 2011
O my goodness?

Did they leave some of those TRAQC poppy seeds sitting around the water cooler?

shelly13
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February 12, 2011
Let her go. It was only the Connolly's.

They have screwed this city enough times. Karma.
hotwheels
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February 11, 2011
She should have pleaded not guilty.
ConcernedNeighbor
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February 09, 2011
Someone dropped the ball in keeping tabs on their employees. Others not doing the same thing?

Hope you checked all things pertaining to your business out well..

Dot all your "i's" and cross all your "t's".

You wouldn't want to be unknowingly caught in a "scam".

CN

cody01
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February 09, 2011
Where do you all think they get the money to do all these city projects?
apairro
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February 09, 2011
Mark Connolly,

Maybe after reading the mail, she realized the swim center lawsuit was going to drag on and decided to go to Disneyland instead?
apairro
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February 08, 2011
Mark Connolly,

Good old fashioned KARMA?
Suricatta
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February 08, 2011
If that's her mugshot, makes me think...

Maria Huerta...you just pleaded on embezzlement in the amount of 65k...what are you gonna do now?

"I'm going to Disneyland!"

In a word...no, but thanks for playing

LAM75
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February 08, 2011
I'm sorry all. I used the ring finger! It is NOT kissing. It is kiDDing!
LAM75
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February 08, 2011
No kissing, tcy1. Hard to tell if it really is a booking photo?
noch3times
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February 08, 2011
Is that the money from the swim center?
LAM75
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February 08, 2011
Embezzlement. Wow. We have to work to get money. Some people have to face that. The last embezzlement case I remember is the one from Tracy Thrash. I am not sure, but is Louie still in jail? I am not sure how long ago that case was.


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