Fort Worth

Tarrant County employee sentenced for stealing more than $65,000 in taxpayer money

Shelly Denise Ables
Shelly Denise Ables Tarrant County Sheriff's Office

A former Tarrant County court employee was sentenced to prison Wednesday for stealing taxpayer money, Tarrant County criminal district attorney Sharen Wilson announced in a news release.

Shelly Denise Ables, who managed the court for Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Gary Ritchie in Precinct 6 for 23 years, was sentenced by Judge Mike Thomas to 42 months in prison.

Ables pocketed small amounts of cash at least 126 times between April 2015 and October 2016, totaling more than $65,000 in taxpayer money, according to the Tarrant County Auditor’s Office.

According to her indictment, Ables falsified records, generated false receipts and voided transactions to defraud the court.

She pleaded guilty in April to felony theft and paid full restitution, the district attorney said. She also pleaded guilty to misapplication of fiduciary property and five counts of tampering with government documents.

“Ms. Ables was in a position of great public trust in Tarrant County and she abused that trust in one of the worst ways possible,” White Collar/Public Integrity Chief Matt Smid said.

Ables was fired in November 2016 after auditors reported inefficient procedures and money shortages, according to the news release.

Stephen English: , @sbenglish74

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