Posted: Feb 17, 2012 6:24 PM
Updated: Feb 17, 2012 6:59 PM
CAMERON COUNTY - Several forged checks are floating around the Valley. Cameron County constables are looking for those checks. They've already found the man who stole them.
The constable says Ernesto Escamilla stole the checks from a friend and employer. The constable says Escamilla wanted to see how many checks he could cash before getting caught.
Constables tracked the stolen checks all over the Valley. Escamilla allegedly wrote the biggest check at Home Depot in Weslaco.
"We charged him on a little over $1,500 on the nine checks," says Cameron County Precinct 4 Constable Robert Lopez.
Lopez says another seven or eight checks worth $3,000 are still floating around.
"It makes me waste a lot of time because now I have to go to places where he's made checks and clear my name," says victim Facundo Juarez.
Escamilla allegedly used a stolen check book to drain Juarez's bank account. The checks were his. The signature on the bottom line was not.
Juarez hired Escamilla to work around his house. He's known him for years. He trusted him.
"I used to loan him money. Whatever he needed, I would go ahead and let him have it," says Juarez.
He says he doesn't know why Escamilla would want to steal instead of borrow. The bank will refund the missing money, more than $4,500. The trust is gone.
"No, not anymore, not anymore," says Juarez.
"What stuns us is that he wasn't ashamed of it. His attitude was 'I hadn't thought about it in the beginning, but once I knew I done wrong, I was already in trouble. I may as well do it until they catch me,'" says Lopez.
The constable says Escamilla will face more charges when the other checks surface. Escamilla is accused of stealing $4,500. Now he's facing a fine of almost twice that much. He could have to pay as much as $10,000 and spend two years in jail.