Sanchez: No public money taken by employee who ‘went off the rails’ with online dominatrix

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Harris County theft

HOUSTON — The Harris County Treasurer said Tuesday in the wake of the arrest of a top employee in his office for theft — allegedly to pay off ‘Mistress Cindy,’ an online dominatrix who the employee said was blackmailing him — that “there’s never been an allegation of one penny missing from this office.”

“The public money is safe,” Treasurer Orlando Sanchez said. “No public money was involved in this allegation made against the gentleman who’s involved with a sexually oriented website. This is a personal matter, his personal banking account. I want to make sure the public knows that their money is completely safe.”

Former Assistant County Treasurer Gregory Lueb, the department’s number two official, was arrested last week and charged with aggregate theft of up to $30,000.

“This is a gentleman who unfortunately was employed here and went off the rails in his personal life and got involved in severe financial difficulty, which is obvious by the charges made,” Sanchez said.

District Attorney Kim Ogg, who made the announcement of Lueb’s arrest last week, said during that press conference that she was concerned about Sanchez’s deputy’s access to public money.

“We are sounding the alarm,” Ogg said last week. “Lueb had extraordinary access to the taxpayer dollars of every agency, and this case strongly suggests the need for an independent audit of every account he touched.”

Lueb opened a credit line of $10,000 at the Harris County Federal Credit Union, a credit union not associated with county money, and began making cash advances against that credit line, according to court records.

Lueb then used fraudulent checks to make payments on the credit account, and siphoned more money from the bank via cash advances, according to the allegations. Much of this was done online and via his work computer, records show.

With interest and fees, a total of $42,184 was ultimately owed on the account, records show.

Lueb during his interview with investigators “became emotional” and said that the money was being used to pay off a woman he knew as ‘Mistress Cindy,’ who he had a relationship with on a bondage website called CollarSpace.com. Lueb said that his mistress began demanding more money and eventually threatened to show his wife text messages between the two if she was not paid, according to court records.

“It is true, I understand, that the investigation has gone on more than six months,” Sanchez said. “The District Attorney notified me… earlier last week and 55 minutes later I had called the county attorney and the human resources department and terminated Mr. Lueb on the spot. He was escorted out of the building. He was deactivated from all county accounts. All of his IDs were removed. His keys were collected.”

After Lueb’s arrest, Ogg called on county commissioners to order an independent audit of every account he had access to.

Sanchez on Tuesday was critical of Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.

“If the district attorney was concerned about taxpayer funds, I certainly needed to know six months ago that one of my employees was under investigation,” he said. “I didn’t need to know the details because I understand that in criminal investigations you can’t share a lot of information. But certainly, the district attorney had a duty to me to tell me, as a colleague here at the county, an elected official, that one of my employees was under investigation. I would have taken immediate action, as I did last week, to terminate, and if not terminate, at least suspend his access to any county funds.”

Ogg did not back down Tuesday and questioned how secure the county treasurer’s office actually is.

“Past administrations have suffered theft internally from our accounts despite audits,” Ogg told The Texas Monitor. “When I was elected, I ensured that our financial administrator and chief of staff did their due diligence and looked at our bank accounts every day. Mr. Lueb came to our attention because money was moved in our restitution account when the county changed banks. That struck us as irregular.”

She added: “While we didn’t lose the money, we were on top of that.”

Ogg said that Lueb has apparently been involved with other frauds in the past.

“This is an ongoing investigation because we have, at the district attorney’s office, more questions than we have answers right now,” Ogg said. “Mr. Lueb had the acumen, he had the access and he had a personal problem in his life that he had some kind of need for money, according to him.”

Sanchez is a Republican and Ogg is a Democrat, but she said that “this is a criminal case, not a political one. We follow the evidence.”

And why didn’t Ogg alert Sanchez sooner? It may have compromised the investigation, she said.

“In the middle of an investigation, when bank accounts are being looked at, when peoples’ assets are being assessed, when we were trying to get an interview with Mr. Lueb, which he postponed repeatedly, I didn’t feel like it was fair to him — and certainly not to the investigators — to compromise the investigation. I can’t compromise the investigation and do our job. I notified Mr. Sanchez as soon as a theft had occurred.”

To Sanchez, though, Ogg’s public comments have been little more than scare tactics.

“It is time for the District Attorney to stop scaring taxpayers,” Sanchez said. Their money was never in jeopardy at this office.” 

Trent Seibert can be reached at [email protected] or at 832-258-6119.

13 COMMENTS

    • Alonzo Salazar – It was his personal funds, his personal life and his personal time. It’s supposed to be illegal to fire anyone for their beliefs, lifestyles etc. with the info in this article saying no public funds were used and that they are now auditing all accounts to confirm, seems like the guy may have a wrongful termination case. Seems they would have reassigned, suspended etc. I agree that in my opinion of what’s right and wrong the guy is a perv, but that’s not grounds for termination if doesn’t interfere with job. People have become to quick to judge and act based on assumptions and innuendo. We need to return to innocent until proven guilty.

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