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DPS Criminal investigators nab some crooks in the Travis County tax office

A routine audit prompted Operation Even Trade. Seven suspects were arrested last week involving the Travis County Tax Assessor and Collectors Office for charges ranging from theft by a public servant, forgery, and engaging in organized crime.

DPS Regional Commander Freeman Martin said Tax assessors were devaluing how much people paid for vehicles, thereby lowering how much buyers had to pay in taxes, and they were also accused of taking bribes. The investigation thus far saw $72,000 in cash seized, though it was not specified where funds came from.
The investigation continues into what else the seven may have done, and who was affected.

Travis County Tax Assessor and Collector Bruce Elfant will speak to County Commissioners tomorrow morning about steps his office has undertaken in the light of the investigation. Elfant will also talk about how they will go forward. For now all county satellite tax offices are closed til further notice and he says if you need to renew a vehicle registration to use the online portal or go to your nearest H-E-B.

Arrested were:

43-year-old Shell Kenneth Prieto-Reese
57 year old Cathy Lynn Wilson
43-year-old Susie Alvarez Arujo
35-year-old Steven Hernandez
all charged with theft by a public servant

41-year-old Hipolita Tiquet De Dio
61-year-old Cecil Leary, Jr. and
72-year-old Eulalio Hernandez
all charged with engaging in organized crime

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