Former Magistrate Court clerk pleads guilty to theft of public money

A former clerk in the Richmond County Magistrate Court clerk’s office admitted to stealing from county coffers.


Estela Figueroa, 47, pleaded guilty Thursday in Richmond County Superior Court to one count of theft by taking. Judge Daniel J. Craig, who first inquired if Figueroa had the money Thursday to repay the county, sentenced her to two years in prison followed by eight years on probation. Figueroa didn’t have the full amount for restitution.

Once released from prison, Figueroa will have 90 days to repay the county in full as a special condition of her probation term.

Figueroa was fired in May 2016 after it was discovered she had taken money from four cases totaling $1,140, said Assistant District Attorney Tom Watkins. The thefts took place between Dec. 28, 2015, and March 28, 2016.

Figueroa was hired as a deputy clerk in February 2010. In 2016, she was earning about $30,000 a year.

Defense attorney Richard Pacheco told the judge that Figueroa had been going through a divorce at the time of the theft and was strapped for cash. She had about $500 for the restitution and was hopeful she could find a job soon and pay off all of the restitution.

The amount of money Figueroa took was only a misdemeanor amount, but because she was a government employee who stole from the county, the crime was a felony offense.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or

B. M. Michales 11 days ago
A divorce is not an excuse to steal.
William O. Darby 11 days ago
"A divorce is not an excuse to steal."
No, BM, it's not. On the other hand, I think that if I were in Danny Craig's shoes, I'd have put her to work (and under house arrest) until the debt was paid. All the while wearing an electronic ankle bracelet. (Why have all that good technology and not use it.)

But that's just me.

Now the taxpayers are gonna be feeding and clothing and housing her for two years. Such is life!
B. M. Michales 11 days ago
I don't disagree, the state and us taxpayers would have been better off.


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