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EP County Plans To Offer Government Waste and Fraud Hotline

County Commissioners want to make it easier for county employees and taxpayers to anonymously report government waste and fraud.

Monday, the court signed off today on a plan to implement a county fraud hotline at a cost of $10,000 the first year.

Commissioner Carlos Leon compared it to another well known hotline: Crime Stoppers.

“Let’s not reinvent the wheel. If you look at what Crime stoppers does, 80 percent of the reward money is never picked up,” said Leon, “That tells me people who report problems just want to see it corrected.”

The county administrator will look for ways to minimize the cost of the service.

Notices with the phone number will be posted in every county building, facility, or office, according to County Judge Veronica Escobar.

The hotline will be modeled after the City of El Paso’s. “(This hotline) will guarantee that the public knows because we will publish quarterly and annual reports,” said Escobar, who added the reports will detail the anonymous tip and the outcome. “(The person who filed the complaint) can look after three months and find out what happened. Did someone get fired? Was someone arrested?”

Corruption within the county has made headlines recently.

Earlier this month, El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Rey Chavez, the former Ascarate Park manager. He is accused of embezzling more than $20,000 collected from the rental of softball fields at the county park.

Investigators told ABC-7 the county auditor confirmed the alleged theft after the arrest of Mayra Navarrete in January.

Navarrete, a former account clerk at Ascarate Park, is suspected of stealing parking fees paid by those attending events at the county park, then allegedly forging and altering documents to cover up the crime.

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