Man poses as political candidate

An Alamo man finds himself behind bars after playing ~catch me if you can, TM posing as an Alamo city commissioner candidate to local businessmen, making off with their political donations.

Lorenzo Gonzalez has owned Ventura Towing in Pharr for seven years.

When a man professing to be Alamo commission place three candidate Riche Chavez came promising to use his business for the city if elected, Gonzalez donated to his campaign.

After Chavez made it to the runoff election in December, the man came back and Gonzalez donated another $500.

But when he came back a third time, Gonzalez became suspicious.

"But this time he told me he needs to have cash, $1,000 cash. And that didn't sound right," Chavez said.

Gonzalez called up a friend in Alamo.

"And he says ~Riche Chavez? What does he look like? Is he missing an arm? TM I say no. He says, ~No Riche Chavez is a old man and lost his arm, TM Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez reported what happened to Pharr Police and when the imposter came for the money on December 31, they arrested Luis Martinez, the brother of Alamo mayor, Diana Martinez.

Unfortunately Sgt. Lupita Valdez says Gonzalez wasn't the only one deceived.

Alamo Police had a pending warrant for the arrest of Martinez for imposing as Mr. Chavez's treasurer last fall.

"As far we can tell he started doing this randomly to business owners. The routine, they give out money to people running in a campaign but no one is verifying anything," Valdez said.

Action 4 did speak with Mr. Chavez who declined to comment saying he will leave it up to the authorities to handle the situation.

Valdez says you can do a lot to prevent becoming a victim to a scam like this one by doing your research.

"Nowadays people have all the information of who is running, who the treasurer is, they have on websites, so verify that info before you hand out money and do not pay in cash," Valdez said.

"There are a lot of good people in politics but there are a few bad apples out there and this guy is a con-artist, Gonzalez said.

There may be other victims too.

If you or someone you know has been scammed report it to your local police.