Former ACTV Head Gets Seven Years

John Villarreal sentenced to seven years in jail for embezzling from the public access station

Former ACTV Head Gets Seven Years
Photo By Pam Thompson

Former Austin Community Television Executive Director John Villarreal (r) was sentenced Monday to seven years in jail for embezzling $354,000 from the public access station, bringing a nearly two-year cycle of accusation and investigation to an abrupt end. Villarreal was suspended for nonperformance of duties on Dec. 21, 2004. Unbeknownst to ACTV's board, however, he had drafted a letter of resignation the day before, a cryptic, two-sentence note saying he was unable to perform his duties. His fast departure fueled speculation around the station that he pocketed operating funds from ACTV's bank account.

Following investigation by the city auditor's office and the district attorney, Villarreal was indicted in March of 2006 for aggregated theft over $200,000, a felony. (Meanwhile, ACTV was reborn under new management as Public Access Community Television, or PACT, in September of 2005.) At sentencing Monday, several details of Villarreal's embezzlement were established. The largest portion, $193,000, was taken as straight cash, while $47,000 went to the purchase and lease of used cars. Villarreal also bought season tickets for Longhorn football and paid off a student loan.

Villarreal's attorney, Janet Stockard, citing the nonviolent nature of the crime, asked for probation for her client, while assistant DA Patty Robertson wanted 10 years. Judge Mike Lynch hewed closer to Robertson's request, noting the public trust Villarreal's former job required. Villarreal will begin his sentence next month.

  • More of the Story

  • Naked City

    Austin-SA Commuter Rail: Kyle looking on board

    City of Kyle likely to be among first jurisdictions to support Austin-San Antonio commuter rail proposal
  • Fam-Planning Uproar

    Array of organizations signs on to letter urging Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt to reconsider appointment of pro-life, anti-contraceptive doctor to be deputy assistant secretary for population affairs

    Shining Light on Campus Discrimination

    New UT Queer Student's Alliance report says administration hasn't done enough to discourage homophobic behavior

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Wells Dunbar
Top 10 City Council Stories
Top 10 City Council Stories
Dais and months

Jan. 6, 2012

City Hall Hustle: The Hustle Bids Farewell ...
City Hall Hustle: The Hustle Bids Farewell ...
To the beating hearts of a great city

Dec. 30, 2011

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle