The Palmview Police Department on Monday arrested a woman accused of scamming people in western Hidalgo County.
Officers arrested Sylvia Rodriguez Flores, 49, of Mission on Monday — her fourth arrest on theft charges during the past five years.
Flores is accused of scamming people with legal problems, according to court records. In exchange for cash, Flores promised her law enforcement connections would release people from jail or dismiss criminal charges.
“She’s been doing it to a lot of people,” said Ruth Benoit, 61, of Palmview, who filed the latest complaint against Flores. “There’s more people. They don’t want to put charges on her because they’re embarrassed.”
Attorney Artemio De La Fuente of Edinburg, who represents Flores, said he couldn’t comment on the allegations.
“At this time, I don’t have all the evidence pertaining to this case,” De La Fuente said.
Benoit said that Flores scammed her in 2019, when Benoit had just broken up with her boyfriend.
Flores told Benoit that her boyfriend had been arrested on South Padre Island.
“Sylvia Flores advised her that the boyfriend’s bond was set at 6,500.00 dollars,” according to the criminal complaint against Flores. “Sylvia advised Ms. Benoit that she knows some people in law enforcement and would need to give her the 6,500.00 dollars in order to help out her boyfriend and avoid for him to get deported.”
They met for coffee. Flores explained how she could help.
“Ms. Benoit added that after a long conversation, and Sylvia Flores having some political connections, she felt that Sylvia Flores could help her and began giving her the money she requested,” according to the criminal complaint.
Benoit scraped together $6,500 and paid Flores over several days.
“So there I am, believing her,” Benoit said. “All these stories.”
After she paid, Benoit said she discovered that her boyfriend hadn’t actually been arrested.
“So everything was a lie,” Benoit said.
Flores stopped responding to calls and text messages. Benoit contacted the police department.
An investigator took her statement and attempted to verify her story. The investigator couldn’t determine whether or not Benoit’s boyfriend had actually been arrested.
Benoit also discovered that Flores had been accused of scamming other people.
In October 2016, a man told the Mission Police Department that Flores claimed she “worked at the Federal Building and would talk to the Judge to have his son’s charges dismissed,” according to court records.
The man paid her $3,500, but nothing happened. He pressed charges.
Flores pleaded guilty to theft, a state jail felony, in June 2018.
A judge sentenced Flores to two years in prison, but he suspended the sentence and placed her on community supervision for three years.
While still on community supervision, Flores was arrested on more theft charges in October 2019 and November 2020.
“I believe that she is going to keep doing it,” Benoit said. “Because she has been doing it for so many years and nothing happened to her. And that’s not right.”
Flores is charged with theft, a third-degree felony. If convicted, she faces 2 to 10 years in prison.