Pena Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison and Restitution of $275,827.87
The ongoing case against former Austin County Tax Assessor/Collector Marcus Pena came to a conclusion last Thursday. The Austin County District Attorney’s office released the following Press Release:
District Judge Dwight Peschel sentenced Marcus Pena to 10 years in prison on Thursday, March 08,2018.
Pena pled guilty to charges of theft and misapplication of fiduciary property of a financial
institution, greater than $150,000 and less than $300,000, by a public servant. Pena elected to have the judge, rather than a jury, decide his punishment. Pena, 40, served as Austin County Tax Assessor/Collector for four years. In 2016 he lost his reelection bid to present Tax Assessor/Collector Kim Rinn.
Evidence showed that when Rinn took office in January, 2017, she noticed financial irregularities and brought them to the attention of County Judge Tim Lapham. Lapham informed District Attorney Travis Koehn. District Attorney Koehn then referred the case to the Texas Rangers and Texas Attorney General’s Office for investigation and prosecution. As the case involved an elected county official, District Attorney Koehn and District Judge Jeff Steinhauser recused themselves.
Assistant Attorney General Julie Stone prosecuted the case. Visiting District Judge Dwight
Peschel, of Guadalupe County served as judge during the one-day trial in Bellville. Austin County Sheriff’s Office deputies took Pen a into custody immediately after sentencing. Pena’s two 10-year sentences will run concurrently. He had previously served 88 days in the Austin County Jail after his arrest and before he made bond.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Institutional Division has sole discretion on whether and when Pena will be paroled. Judge Peschel also ordered Pena to pay $275,827.87 restitution to Austin County as part of his criminal conviction.