Local woman charged with stealing tens of thousands from elderly couple

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Guerra's statement of "no action" refuted by police
ROBERT WILCOX Reporter

Rosa Maria Silva Rosa Maria Silva A Willacy County woman who was providing home health care for an elderly Raymondville couple, allegedly took almost $20,000 from the couple, who reportedly loved her like a daughter.

Rosa Maria Silva, 52, of Willacy County was arrested for theft over $1,500 under $20,000, and for fraudulent use of identifying information. She is the sister of Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Juan Silva.

She was arraigned by Municipal Judge Hector "Tiger" Huerta, who set her bond at $10,000 for each charge. She was given a personal recognizance bond, which means she did not have to post a cash, and was not jailed.

The elderly couple who eventually complained to police are Jose and Maria Torres who live in the 200 block of E. Durham Avenue.

Raymondville Police Detective David Robles said that Rosa Silva worked for the Torres's for several years and gained their trust.

"Silva was supposed to have deposited their social security checks each month," Robles said. "She was supposed to have paid their mortgage and their utility bills."

The Torres's have since defaulted on their USDA loan, and one or more utility companies were about to suspend service at their residence.

"She stopped working for the home health agency, but showed up when they received their social security checks," Robles said. "Another home health provider confronted her about the nonpayment of bills."

The new home health provider tipped us off, and we began an investigation.

In a directly related event, District Attorney Juan Angel "Johnny" Guerra held press conferences with three Rio Grande Valley TV stations.

Guerra reportedly told Telemundo Channel 48 that he doubted Rosa Silva would be arrested, since she is the sister of a judge, and that is how it is in Willacy County.

Justice Juan Silva, Rosa Silva's brother, said that he is declining to comment on Guerra's assertions, but he may do so later on.

His sister was arrested and charged on Thursday, and has been processed through the criminal justice system thus far.

Raymondville Police Chief Uvaldo Zamora said that Guerra's assertions are totally without basis.

"Mr. Guerra is making us look like the bad guys," Zamora said. "In no way would we not investigate if a suspect is related to any judge. My investigators work very very hard, and it does take time to build a solid case."

"Mr. Guerra's running for office, and he wants to get votes," Zamora said. "Since I've been chief we've never played favorites or bowed to any influence."

A message was left for Guerra to contact the Chronicle/News for clarification on his assertions, but he did not do so by press time.

The Torres's are not in immediate danger of being evicted thanks to RPD intervention.

"We contacted the USDA who holds the mortgage, and the agency is going to work with the elderly couple," Robles said. "We're still investigating, and there may be other charges filed against Rosa Silva."

2008-02-06 / Front Page

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