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Denise Gonzales: Admits Running Amok with Children's Museum Credit Cards

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Denise Gonzales: Says hard times made her do it.
Former Children's Museum of Houston assistant gallery director Denise Gonzales used the nonprofit's credit cards to fund over $13,000 in illicit purchases, court documents say.

According to a criminal complaint, Gonzales, 41, was issued two company-owned Chase MasterCards for business purchases. Gonzales had other plans for the cards, allegedly, and made her first illegal purchase on September 17 of last year. According to the complaint, she continued using the nonprofit's cards illegally until September 25 of this year. On October 5, she was confronted about $500 of the charges by the museum's HR director. Gonzales confessed and was summarily canned. A subsequent in-house audit turned up over $13,000 in illegal purchases, whereupon her former employer went to the police. She was arrested yesterday.

According to the complaint, Gonzales used the cards to buy food, beauty products, clothes, household items, electronics and cameras, some of which she pawned for cash. The complaint also states that Gonzales gave a taped confession to a Houston cop, and even owned up to all of her illegal purchases, receipt by receipt. She stated that she was very sorry for the trouble she'd caused and said that tough financial times compelled her criminal behavior.

Unfortunately for Gonzales, those times just got a lot harder. She's now out of a job and someone in her circle of friends and family had to pay off her $26,357.22 bond, exactly double the dollar amount she is alleged to have stolen. (Whoever it was who bonded her out, we're betting it was not the person who left the following message on her Myspace page last year: "Denise If have something to say to my daughter come and tell her in her face you know where we live but i bet you that you will get a beat down.")

What's more, aggregate theft of between $1,500 and $20,000 is a felony punishable by up to two years in state jail, plus court costs and a potential fine of up to $10,000. And there will be lawyer's fees to boot.

Just goes to show you yet again -- crime does not pay.

Unless you work on Wall Street, of course.

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