AUSTIN (KXAN) — Over the past several months, several law enforcement agencies say they’ve received reports about a man who claims he is an investigator with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office and he’s trying to collect money on hot checks.
Most recently, a victim reported to the Travis County Sheriff’s Office that they had been scammed out of money by a man who wore a badge and handcuffs and claimed to be Robert Rodriguez, a detective with the “Travis County Hot Checks Division.” As detectives started looking into the case, they were able to identify the alleged impersonator as Ricky Cortez, 49, of Houston.
Authorities say Cortez is linked to impersonation cases in Hays County, Leander and Austin. According to an arrest affidavit, in July, the suspect contacted a victim and said he had to pay him to cancel the warrants for writing a hot check. In all the incidents, the suspect showed a business card with the name of Robert Rodriguez, according to the affidavit.
In October, Leander police received a call from a convenience store employee stating a man approached him and asked if there were any hot checks the store needed him to collect. The clerk was able to obtain a photo of the suspect, which helped detectives identify Cortez.
A search warrant of Cortez’s Houston home and vehicle revealed items used to commit the crimes, according to a Travis County Sheriff’s Office press release. Cortez turned himself into TCSO on Nov. 2.
Authorities believe there could be more unreported cases in which Cortez may have scammed people. TCSO is asking victims of this scam to please report the crime to their local law enforcement agency.