Pena says he’ll plead guilty

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Embattled former Austin County Tax Assessor-Collector Marcus Peña appeared in court last week and announced his intent to plead guilty to charges of first-degree felony theft by a public servant.

Peña was arrested in January after an accounting error was discovered in the tax office following Pena’s failed bid for re-election. The amount in question was reportedly greater than $150,000 and less than $300,000. Texas Rangers and the Austin County Sheriff’s Department conducted in the investigation.

The former county employee served for about four years from 2012 to 2016 and was replaced by Kim Rinn.

During a Nov. 28 hearing at the Austin County Courthouse, Peña agreed to plead guilty and have a jury decide his sentence on Jan. 22.

Peña and his attorneys met in August with prosecutor Julie Stone of the Texas Attorney General’s Office and Austin County Judge Dwight Peschel. A local probation officer also was present for the closed-door meeting.

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