GALVESTON

An island woman was arrested Wednesday and accused of stealing more than $180,000 from the company employing her for about three decades, police said.

Galveston resident Paula Villarreal, 61, was an office manager at Industrial Material Corp. in Galveston, according to a probable cause affidavit. She worked for the company for at least 30 years, according to the affidavit.

In October, the company's president called police to report he suspected Villarreal had stolen money from the company, according to the affidavit. She had admitted to taking more than $14,000, the affidavit alleges.

The company hired an accounting firm that alleged Villarreal had taken more than $188,000 from the company between May 2016 and October 2020.

The audit alleged Villarreal had entered herself as a vendor in the company's accounting system and had sent herself money, took more than $140,000 in petty cash and used a company credit card for personal purchases, according to the affidavit.

The auditors also alleged Villarreal had cashed in more than 1,000 hours of extra vacation time and altered pay stubs to hide the amount of time she claimed, according to the affidavit.

Villarreal told investigators she intended to pay the money back and didn't realize how much she had taken, the affidavit alleges.

Villarreal was arrested Wednesday and held on $10,000 bond, according to the affidavit. She was no longer in custody at the Galveston County Jail as of Friday morning.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

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(9) comments

Angelica Rendon

While there’s never an excuse for certain behavior, there’s always plenty of reasons. I’m curious what her annual salary was after 30 years of service...

Amanda DeVries

Seriously? What difference does that make?

Angelica Rendon

Obviously you didn't read the first part of my comment. No where did I say it made any difference. I'm merely speculating on a possible reason. You do realize that people have motives for their behavior. Greed, revenge, desperation. Don't put words in my mouth. I didn't say it was wrong but I didn't say it was right either. I'm not a judge and neither are any of you, as far as I know. I'm just a person making a comment geez!!!

Ted Duck

You've can't be serious with that comment!

James Lippert

Regular Certified Audits by a licensed CPA are key to preventing embezzlement from taking place. If Galveston County required the Volunteer Fire Departments to have regular Certified Audits perhaps the rash of local VFD embezzlements involving public funds would have never happened.

Stephanie Martin

Another low bond.

Irwin Fletcher

Just curious with this comment - what do you believe the bond is supposed to do?

Russell Rac

Well, just to throw this out on the table, how about said bond being comparable to what was allegedly embezzled? Maybe 1/2?

Certainly more than an 1/18th of the crime proceeds...

Jarvis Buckley

This story definitely is a sad one. To betray an employer that has paid you for 30 years ! You have to be in bad shape. Mentally & financially.

The company will never get their money back .

The lady will never get her life back. This is a sad story indeed.

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