DA: Business manager stole $800K from Advocate

Lisa Trevino

The Victoria Advocate’s former business manager will have to pay back a large sum of what she stole from the newspaper.

Lisa Autry Trevino, 47, pleaded guilty Friday to theft greater than or equal to $200,000 in exchange for prosecutors dropping three other felonies against her.

Court records show Trevino must pay a $795,500 restitution, serve 30 days in the Victoria County Jail and serve 10 years probation.

If she completes her probation successfully, the case could be dismissed.

First Assistant District Attorney Pamela Collins Stovall said Trevino would work with the probation department to make restitution payments on a regular basis so the newspaper is made whole by the end of her 10-year probation.

“I am not personally aware of her financial situation; however, if she fails to pay the restitution, then we can file a motion to have the full range of punishment still available to us,” Collins Stovall said.

The charges she faced were first- and third-degree felonies. The charge she pleaded guilty to Friday was a first-degree felony, which carries a punishment of between 5 to 99 years in prison.

Trevino’s employment at the Advocate ended in 2016, shortly after the theft was discovered.

The newspaper then called the Victoria Police Department to investigate.

When asked why Trevino did not receive prison time, Collins Stovall said, “When we make plea recommendations, like the one in this particular case, we speak to the victim and we respect their desires as well,” she said.

Stephen McHaney, the president of the Advocate’s parent company, M. Roberts Media, said he appreciated the district attorney’s work to resolve this case.

“While I am not disappointed with the sentence today, it is also not satisfying. It is impossible to undo the harm caused by Lisa’s actions and the impact that it had to us and all those around her,” he said.

The Advocate was insured for much of the loss and has recovered from it, McHaney said. The restitution is designed to cover the newspaper’s uninsured losses with the remaining going to the insurance company, he said.

Trevino, of Karnes City, retained Brent Dornburg as her attorney after she was indicted in 2018. That was the same year she got married. Her married name is Lisa Jones. Dornburg could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Jessica Priest reports on the environment and Calhoun County for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at jpriest@vicad.com or 361-580-6521.

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Environment/Investigations Reporter

Jessica Priest has done a little bit of everything since moving to Victoria in 2012. She was a regular fixture in the Crossroads’ historic courthouses, but now slathers on the sunscreen to report on the environment.

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