in Houston, Texas
Corpus Christi officials knew about fake windstorm certificates in 2009, failed to notify homeowners, memo shows: KZTV-TV
Friday, Jul 01, 2011, 02:27PM CST
By Kevin Lee
fake

Corpus Christi officials knew two years ago that fake windstorm certificates had been distributed to local homeowners but failed to provide notice, according to a Thursday report from KZTV-TV in Corpus Christi.

From Thursday’s KZTV-TV report:
Those faked certificates now put homes and businesses in danger of losing windstorm insurance, right at the beginning of hurricane season. ...

In this memo obtained by 6 News, assistant city manager Johnny Perales tells Mayor Joe Adame and the city council about the fake certificates and says the city "is preparing a public notification and assistance program" for the homes affected.

But the memo was written August 20, 2009, nearly 2 years ago. The notification program never happened.
KZTV says the Texas Department of Insurance is looking into the matter, and was not successful in getting a response from the city about why they hadn’t notified the homeowners back in 2009.

Earlier this week, Corpus Christi Police Chief Tony Riggs began to notify more than 400 property owners that they received fraudulent windstorm inspections from resident Gary Garza, who falsely claimed to be an engineer. The inspections took place before 2008.

Garza pleaded guilty in January to a lesser offense after being charged with 10 counts of tampering with government records, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported Tuesday. He was sentenced to two years probation.

Riggs told the Caller-Times he distributed notification letters after looking into a different case of building permit fraud and realizing that no one from the city or state had notified property owners of the windstorm fraud.
 
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Contact Kevin Lee at 713-228-3733 or kevin@texaswatchdog.org.

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Photo of 'fake' illustration by flickr user the|G|, used via a Creative Commons license.
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