Posted: Feb 21, 2018 4:49 PM CSTUpdated: Feb 21, 2018 4:49 PM CST
Reported by Cecilia Gutierrez, Reporter
EDINBURG – An Edinburg woman was arraigned Wednesday on the offense of falsifying information on a Texas Title.
Forty-three-year-old Xochilt Zarate was arrested at her place of business after she falsified information on the assignment of a Texas Title in order to help a male customer register a vehicle that was purchased through the internet on Craigslist.
Cesar Solis, a fraud investigator with the Hidalgo County Tax Office, says they've seen an increase in cases such as this one. He says the county is trying to crack down on these crimes.
Solis says Zarate falsely signed a document to allow her customer to obtain a vehicle title in his name after purchasing the vehicle online.
He says people who are buying their vehicles through the internet are encountering a lot of problems with the vehicles and their titles, he suggests doing your research before buying.
But it's not just the research on the car, previous owner and car history you have to research, he says. You also have to research which notary public you take that title to.
"You need to be very careful on to which notary public you go to," Solis suggests.
The investigator says by double checking all of the information that the notary public puts on the application and documents you can avoid becoming a fraud victim.
Solis says there are several ways to track down crimes such as the one Zarate committed.
"We compare the signatures," says Solis.
He adds if you falsify any documents that are required to purchase a motor vehicle, you can be charged with the felony of falsifying information on a Texas document.
He says if found guilty, you can be charged with a third-degree felony that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Zarate was given a $15,000 bond by Justice of the Peace Gilbert Saenz.