A Burkburnett woman was sentenced to serve two more years probation Thursday after embezzling money from a pool supply company in 2010 but had other charges of embezzlement, theft, fraud and forgery of another company dropped due to the death of the alleged victim.
In 89th District Court, Michelle Urioste agreed to a plea deal to serve a new term on probation for the 2010 embezzlement in exchange for other charges being dismissed.
The owner of Starline Pools said an audit showed more than $400,000 was missing between 2005 and 2008. Then a man who bought the company in 2008 told police he suspected Urioste also stole more than $13,000 after he gave her signed blank checks. Urioste was placed on five-years probation in 2012 for the 2010 charge.
The five-year probation was deferred and had it been completed would not have gone on her record. However, with the new probation, it will be on Urioste’s record, and she can serve prison time if she violates it.
In October 2015, Urioste was charged with two counts of fraudulent use and possession of identification, two charges of forgery and a charge of theft more than $20,000 less than $100,000 after police officers said the owner of Spires Landscaping reported Urioste opened a credit card in the business’ name. A Citibank investigator found the card had a balance of almost $14,000 and was mailed to her home address.
The five charges stemming from the landscaping company were dropped Thursday after the late owner’s wife testified she didn’t have enough knowledge of the business to testify against Urioste. Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie said that is heartbreaking.
“Its a very upsetting outcome for me today [Thursday] because of the death of Mr. [George] Spires, but I will do my best to get justice in the future,” Gillespie said.
Spires’ wife, Beverly, also commented about the case.
“It’s sad that my husband is deceased so it’s hard to prove up a case when he isn’t here, and I have all the trust and faith in our district attorney,” Spires said.
In 2016, Texoma’s Homepage spoke to the Spires’ who said the court process was taking too long and they were confident they had enough evidence. However, former 30th District Judge Bob Brotherton said embezzlement cases do not take precedence over many other felonies in court.
On top of two-years probation, Urioste paid $5,456.79 in restitution.