Cameron County district clerk employee allegedly pocketing money
Mon, 13 Aug 2012 23:57:40 GMT —
It was more than $7,500 stolen during a five month period " from March until late July " which Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said 32-year-old Melinda Gilman Gonzalez pocketed for her own personal use.
She was taking the money, Lucio said, from the court costs collections department, in the office of District Clerk Aurora de la Garza.
The 32-year-old woman is charged with tampering with government records and theft,
When she realized we had a warrant for her arrest, she resigned from the position and she came to the office and turned herself in," Lucio said.
Gilman was arraigned by Attorney and District Attorney Democratic candidate Luis Saenz.
He said Gilman was allegedly stealing the money when taking manual payments from people who would go pay their court dues, after the electronic system shut down at 4 p.m.
De la Garza would not comment on camera, but tells Action 4 News that the actions of one employee, do not reflect the work of an entire office.
She adds that all employees go through a thorough background check when hired, and could not comment further because it's a personnel issue and an ongoing case.
Lucio said they worked closely with de la Garza's office reviewing audits and records to make sure they had the evidence necessary in this case.
"We don TMt want to arrest somebody who is innocent, Lucio said. One of the things I tell my people in law enforcement, not for one second should we arrest anybody who has not done anything because you cannot give them that second back of freedom in (their) life."
Lucio said corruption within governing bodies has been around for ages and will continue. Although Gilman is related to a district attorney prosecutor, Lucio adds, the law applies to her like everyone else and it's unfair to hold her family responsible for her own actions.
"What your child does or what your grown up kid does " (it TMs) difficult, Lucio said. I TMm sure that we can control kids that are 16, 15, or 14 (years old) but once they become adult, well they TMre responsible for their actions.
The Cameron County District Attorney TMs office in a statement said, we are aware of the investigation and will be assisting in any way. All findings will be turned over to an attorney pro-tem when one has been appointed.
Gilman posted bond and was released from jail.