AUSTIN (KXAN) - The former chief of a local nonprofit agency, on the run for months after being accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands, turned herself in to authorities in hopes of clearing her husband's name, attorneys said Friday.
"She was frightened and left Austin when she realized she was going to be embarrassed and prosecuted," said Louanne's attorney Nate Stark.
According to Stark, Aponte was living in Venezuela with her mother-in-law and was urged by friends and family to stay there and avoid prosecution, but returned for her own reasons.
"She has a son and daughter that she loves, and there was no way to do that in Venezuela," said Stark.
Lawyers for Louanne and Marco Aponte said Louanne Aponte, former director of Family Connections, voluntarily returned from Caracas, Venezuela after she heard her husband was facing charges related to the case because, she argues, he had nothing to do with it.
She wants to tell everyone that Marco had absolutely no knowledge of things she was doing with the organizations she ran," said Stark.
In spite of that, prosecutors said Friday they still have enough evidence to believe that Marco Aponte was involved and plan to continue pursuing charges.
"Based on the facts we know, he will still have to face charges," said prosecutor Greg Cox.
Stark says Louanne Aponte will assist prosecutors in recovering the money which was taken, however, a plea agreement has not been reached and prosecutors indicate she will be facing a number of years in prison.
Following a pretrial hearing Friday morning, court dates for both Louanne and Marco Aponte have been set for Jan. 14 in regard to a list of charges stemming from a money laundering case at the nonprofit Family Connections family service organization.
The January date is designated as another pretrial hearing.
After a grand jury late Thursday came down with three indictments for the former director of Family Connections, Louanne Aponte will appear in court Friday morning at 9 a.m. Her ex-husband, Marco Aponte , is due to appear at the same time on charges of money laundering.
Louanne Aponte is charged with a total of six felonies -- one of theft, one of misappropriation of funds -- against three different organizations:
- Family Connections
- Texas Association of Child Care Resources
- Hyde Park Christian Church's World Outreach fund
Accused of stealing hundreds of thousands from Family Connections, Louanne Aponte recently turned herself in Wednesday after being on the run since February.
Louanne Aponte was taken into custody at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston Wednesday as she got off a flight from Caracas, Venezuela. She was booked into the Travis County jail on several outstanding warrants around 4:15 p.m.
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