“This is something we don’t tolerate. This is taxpayer money. We’re government employees. This is a priority for us at the department,” said DPS Regional Commander Freeman Martin.
Seven arrests: charges like forgery, organized crime, bribery.
“There’s a lot of things about this investigation we can’t talk about. This is an ongoing investigation that still has to be prosecuted,” Freeman said.
Martin joined DMV Executive Director Whitney Brewster and Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore at a press conference Monday morning about the multi-agency fraud investigation called “Operation Even Trade.”
Martin says the investigation launched in March at the request of the D.A.
“Say somebody purchases a vehicle. When you go to the Tax-Assessor Collector’s office, you pay taxes on the amount of that vehicle. So there’s a potential there for corruption,” Martin said.
According to court paperwork, 43-year-old Shell Kenneth Prieto-Reese and 57-year-old Cathy Lynn Wilson worked together at the Precinct 1 tax office on Hefflin Lane. 43-year-old Susie Alvarez Araujo and 35-year-old Steven Hernandez worked at Precinct 2 in Pflugerville.
The employees are accused of entering false values on title form applications, resulting in the reduction of sales tax sent to the state.Please Donate