WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The former City View Independent School District tax collector has avoided trial by taking a plea deal for probation on her embezzlement charge.
Judith Heaston was scheduled to go to trial last September but was granted a continuance at her attorney’s request. On Thursday, February 16, 2023, she pleaded guilty in 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 an investigation and audit revealed she took over a period of years.
Heaston was arrested in 2019 after City View Superintendent Tony Bushong said he discovered significant discrepancies involving large sums of money in the accounts of the tax office.
After an internal investigation, it was determined there was a shortage in collected tax revenue. The president of the tax software company told investigators that software had been manipulated to cover up the discrepancies and this manipulation went back at least 8 years.
A check of 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 got a long text message from Heaston admitting the thefts and saying she was “leaving this earth” to save her family from humiliation.
Wichita County Sheriff David Duke and a WCSO deputy went to check on Heaston at her house.
Duke said when they got to her house, they found her garage locked and a vehicle running, so they broke in and found her in the car with the windows down and the garage full of exhaust. She was taken to the hospital for treatment.
A deputy said that when he later asked Heaston what happened to the money, she told him it was all gone.
In March 2019, Wichita County signed a contract to have the county tax office take over the collection of City View ISD taxes.
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