Public Corruption at Texas/Mexico Border: Officer Faces 56 Counts
RIO GRANDE CITY, TEXAS--Joseph Romeo Ozuna, a former Starr County probation officer was indicted by a grand jury on Thursday for 56 counts of corruption. The indictment was made public on Friday; prosecutors claim that among other wrongdoings, Ozuno stole money from his probationers, asked one probationer to have sex for money, and created multiple false documents.
According to details released, Ozuna promised a female probationer that he would make her payments if she came to his house and had sex with him.
Additionally, between 2010 and 2012, Ozuna allegedly pocketed between $20,000 and $100,000. Apparently, he would usually do this by forging fee receipts after taking money from his probationers for unfounded reasons. Ozuna is also accused of collecting $1,500 from probationer Justin Hardin, a man convicted of aggravated robbery in 2010, in exchange for recommending that Hardin's probation end early.
Other charges against Ozuna claim that he regularly forged the signature of the 229th state District Court Judge Ana Lisa Garza.
Prior to the investigation into Ozuna's alleged corrupt activity, he worked as a full time probationer for six years. According to Starr County District Attorney Omar Escobar, the investigation was launched after one of Ozuna's probationers filed a theft complaint to a district judge. Ozuna subsequently stepped down from his position.
Ozuna was released from the Starr Country jail on Friday night. His total bond is $290,000.
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