GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — A social services worker in Southeast Texas serving as a guardian to help people manage their money has pleaded guilty to felony theft.

The Galveston County Daily News (http://bit.ly/1bVyS8l ) reported Wednesday that 47-year-old Sylvia Ann Villarreal of Hitchcock faces up to 20 years in prison. The penalty phase begins in August for Villarreal, who pleaded guilty Monday.

Records show Villarreal worked for Galveston County's guardianship program for nearly 15 years before she was fired in March 2010. She was later indicted on a charge of theft by public servant involving between $20,000 and $100,000 of funds since 2007.

The investigation began when a judge who appointed Villarreal to assist wards of the county noticed irregularities with their checking accounts.

___

Information from: The Galveston County Daily News, http://www.galvnews.com

 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.