Sign of the crimes: Houstonians get humiliating punishment for theft from DA's office

Eloise Mireles & Daniel Mireles

Eloise Mireles & Daniel Mireles

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by khou.com staff & the Associated Press

khou.com

Posted on July 9, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 9 at 3:20 PM

HOUSTON – A Houston couple convicted of theft must display signs outside their home and near the Galleria saying they are thieves.

Eloise and Daniel Mireles, both 38, were sentenced Thursday to 10 years’ probation and 180 days in prison for diverting more than $265,000 from crime victims over a seven-year period.

Eloise Mireles was an administrative assistant in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office when she embezzled the money. She pleaded guilty in April and could have received life in prison for the crime.

Judge Kevin Fine also ordered Eloise Mireles to repay the money she stole. Her husband will be responsible for restitution, too.

Daniel Mireles was convicted of theft in the second degree and could have been sentenced to 20 years behind bars.

In addition to the 180-day prison sentence, both Eloise and Daniel Mireles will have to spend one month in jail every year for six years.

But perhaps the most unusual part of their punishment was Judge Fine’s order that they put a sign outside their home saying convicted thieves live there. Fine said once they’ve served their 180 days in prison, Daniel Mireles will be required to stand at a high-traffic intersection near the Galleria every Saturday for six years, wearing a sign saying he’s a thief. Eloise Mireles will be required to do the same thing on Sundays.

The Mireles’ theft scheme was uncovered after Harris County DA Pat Lykos took office in January of 2009 and asked for an audit of the Victim Witness Division.

During the audit, investigators found problems with the system for recording court-ordered restitution.

As new procedures were implemented, the missing funds were traced back to Eloise Mireles.

"Eloise Mireles betrayed victims, betrayed public trust, and betrayed our office. I want people to know that we will not tolerate this behavior in Harris County and we will continue to vigorously prosecute offenders. Ultimately, the sentencing decision came down to the judge," Lykos said.

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