On Tuesday, July 16, a GEO Correctional Officer Mayra Gallegos-Balderas, 23, surrendered herself to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office on a theft warrant issued out of Justice of the Peace Stephen Hebert’s office and obtained by lead Investigator Shandalynn Rhame of the Criminal Investigation Division. Gallegos-Balderas has worked for GEO, the private company that contracts with the county to operate the county jail, since October of 2018.
According to Rhame, it was brought to the attention of the Sheriff’s Office that on three different occasions, people were released from the Liberty County jail and filed reports that some or all of their money was not returned. During the course of the investigation Rhame, with the assistance of Investigator Steve Rasberry, gained enough evidence to secure the arrest warrant.
The former correctional officer stands charged with theft of property of $750 to $2,500 which totaled to the amount of $1,478. The charge typically would be a Class A misdemeanor. However, due to the fact Gallegos-Balderas was a public servant and the money came in to her possession while acting in the capacity of her duties, the degree of the charge enhances to a state jail felony. After surrendering on this charge, Gallegos-Balderas was released on a Personal Recognizance (PR) bond.