Riviera woman accused of swindling would-be homeowners

Pharr detectives say a 43-year-old Riviera resident they arrested last week has an established pattern of taking down payments for houses from would-be homeowners and taking their money, causing banks to foreclose on at least two houses.

Police charged Laura Patricia Rosales with theft of more than $2,500 but less than $30,000 after a man and woman filed a theft report on Feb. 4 alleging Rosales took from them $25,081.00 for the purchase of a house and didn’t apply it toward the deal.

“(The woman) will testify that she paid a total of $25,081.00 dollars which should have been applied towards the purchase of the home,” a probable cause affidavit stated. “There was a $20,000.00 dollar down payment, a $1,000.0000 (sic) dollar closing cost fee and 7 consecutive monthly payments of $583.00 dollars.”

The deal took place on March 2, 2019, according to police, who say a bank filed suit to evict against the woman on Oct. 3, 2019, and foreclosed on the property.

Detectives say in the charging document that she provided receipts and documents supporting her case against Rosales, who was arrested on Aug. 3.

An investigator says he “communicated with Rosales who acknowledged that she accepted the money from (the woman) and failed to apply it toward the purchase of the house,” the probable cause affidavit state.

Simultaneously to this case, another detective was investigating Rosales on another theft where police accuse Rosales of selling a property in Pharr causing the alleged victim to lose thousands of dollars and have their house foreclosed by a bank.

The investigations also revealed that a Kleberg County court convicted Rosales on Feb. 24, 2016, of theft and sentenced her to 10 years of probation and restitution of $21,766.03 after she pleaded guilty.

Rosales was released on a $5,000 bond the same day she was arrested, jail records indicate.