by Justin Kree
BIG SPRING - The investigation continues into how Vanessa Olivas, a former Howard County Tax Assessor Collector Employee, allegedly stole over $20,000 from residents trying to renew their vehicle registration.
After NewsWest 9 reported her arrest last week, the people of Big Spring want to know if they will be penalized.
According to the arrest affidavit, Olivas was putting void and exempt on vehicle registration transactions. That allowed her to embezzle thousands intended to go to the County.
Diane Carter, the Tax Assessor Collector for Howard County, says those who already paid don't need to worry.
"They are in good standing. Their registration sticker is still valid. When it does expire, they need to make sure we re-register it," Carter said.
Carter says Howard County residents most likely won't even know there was a problem in the Tax Assessors office.
"When a person gets their registration next year, they need to bring that into our office and we can look and see if it affected them or not. I don't anticipate it. With the investigation, we're hoping to solve that before anyone gets their upcoming registration renewal notice," Carter said.
Carter has been the Tax Assessor-Collector for two years. The incident involving Olivas has taught her the way the office needs to be run.
"We're going to move forward with better training. I will be more observant and the bookkeeper will be more observant," Carter said.