Published on May 1st, 2013 | by Daniel R. Perlman0
Former city employee to receive probation in theft case
A former grounds maintenance supervisor who stole fuel and lawn and garden supplies from the city of Yuma will receive probation instead of prison under the terms of a plea agreement.
Hector Valenzuela, 42, who had worked for the city for 19 years, recently plead guilty to one felony count of theft in Yuma County Superior Court. The plea agreement stipulates that he be sentenced to a term of probation, but does not specify the type or length.
The plea agreement also stipulates that Valenzuela will not be sentenced to any jail time and that he pay $5,065 in restitution to the city of Yuma. That amount represents a deduction of $8,934 that Valenzuela received from the city as pay owed while he was on leave during the investigation.
The judge is not bound to follow the stipulations contained within the plea agreement. If the judge decides not to accept it, Valenzuela will be offered an opportunity to withdraw from it. If Valenzuela chooses not to withdraw from it he will then be sentenced on the original charge of theft, which carries a prison sentence ranging from two years to eight years in prison, with three years and six months being the presumptive sentence.
In return for Valenzuela’s guilty plea, charges of theft, fraudulent schemes and artifices, and trafficking in stolen property against him were dismissed. He is scheduled to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. on May 22 before Superior Court Judge David Haws.
According to Yuma police, after a month long investigation that began in September of 2012, the department’s Investigations Bureau served a search warrant at 795 W. Jacobs St. in Somerton in a case of suspected fraud and theft.
Yuma police said video surveillance revealed that Valenzuela had allegedly been stealing fuel and lawn and garden supplies from the city of Yuma, where he was employed.
Additional stolen property valued at about $23,000 was discovered and seized as evidence during the home search, police said.
Valenzuela was arrested and booked into Yuma County Detention Center for suspected fraud schemes, trafficking in stolen property and theft. He is out of custody after paying a $10,000 bond and is being represented by attorney Richard Edgar.
Source: yumasun.com “Former city employee to receive probation in theft case,” May 1, 2013.