$700K In Missing Public Money Leads To 15 Being Charged
RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas (AP) — A South Texas county tax assessor and 14 other people face charges after auditors determined $700,000 in public money is missing.
Starr County Tax Assessor-Collector Carmen A. Pena was arrested at her office Wednesday afternoon. Seven deputy clerks plus seven other suspects were also arrested.
The Texas Department of Public Safety says the charges include tampering with government records, theft by a public servant, forgery and engaging in organized criminal activity.
Prosecutors say auditors noticed funds missing since 2009. The investigation also involves the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and allegations of employees bribed to falsify registrations.
Pena remained in custody Thursday. Jail officials didn't immediately provide bond or attorney information for her or the other defendants. A message left with the district attorney's office wasn't immediately returned Thursday.