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Humble man to repay $300,000 in plea deal

May 29, 2020

A Humble man who worked for a construction company has paid back $100,000 to his employer, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Friday.

Luis Ernesto Morales, 39, was facing a maximum of 20 years in prison when he agreed to pay back a total of $300,000 in exchange for two years of deferred adjudication probation. He is expected to return the remaining $200,000 as part of his probation.

“Making a victim whole goes a long way toward seeking justice,” said District Attorney Ogg.  “Crime shouldn’t pay, and Mr. Morales will pay back $300,000 in restitution as part of this agreement.”

Morales worked at Toney Construction in Cypress since 2003 where he rose through the ranks to become a superintendent, overseeing employees at several job sites. From 2013 until he left the company in 2018, he filed fraudulent timesheets and deposited the checks for employees who either no longer worked for the company or had never worked there. Several former employees also contacted the company reporting that the tax records for their payments showed they were paid much more than what they actually earned.

“When individuals are placed in a position of trust, supporting the livelihoods of employees and owners, and they choose to abuse that trust by stealing, this is the very definition of betrayal,” said Assistant District Attorney Sherin Daniel, the prosecutor who handled the case. “Stealing from a company is not just stealing from a corporate entity, it’s stealing from the people who work there and from the owners. It effects the economic health of the company and hurts their ability to contribute to their community.”

The Restitution Center of the DA’s Office plans to give the $100,000 to the Toney Construction Company on Friday. 

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