Howard County Tax Assessor Employee Arrested for Embezzling Thousands of Tax Payers Dollars
By: Justin Kree NewsWest 9
BIG SPRING- Vanessa Olivas a former employee of the Tax Assessor Collector's Office was arrested on Tuesday. She is being investigated for stealing thousands of dollars. According to the arrest affidavit, Texas Rangers were contacted by the Department of Motor Vehicles because of suspicious activity at the Howard County Tax Assessors Office. An unusual amount of voided and exempt transactions were being filed. Rangers interviewed 33-year-old Olivas whose ID code was on the transactions.
"The clerk involved was doing title registrations and sales of motor vehicles. Those tax proceeds from both the registration receipts and from the sales tax of motor vehicles appear to be the bulk of what was stolen," Howard, Martin and Glasscock Counties District Attorney, Hardy Wilkerson said.
The Rangers' investigation revealed that from October 2014 through February 2015, Olivas stole more than $22,000. Howard County Justice of the Peace, Robert Fitzgibbons took it from there.
"Based on the complaint from the Texas Rangers, I issued the arrest warrant that he requested," Howard County, Justice of the Peace Pct. 1, Place 2, Robert Fitzgibbons said.
Olivas remains locked up at the Howard County jail. The D.A. is now waiting for the case to come to his office.
"We'll review the case and submit it to the Grand Jury. The Grand Jury will determine to go with an indictment or not," Wilkerson said.
Tax payers want to trust the government but when government employees are accused of stealing it's hard to regain that trust.
"Number one, nobody likes to pay taxes but when we do, we anticipate that it's going for the greater society. When it's not going for what it's intended but in somebody's pocket, it's like a double betrayal," Wilkerson said.