A woman accused of scamming people in western Hidalgo County must decide next month whether to plead guilty — and spend 18 months in jail — or take her case to trial.
Sylvia Rodriguez Flores, 49, of Mission claimed she knew judges and law enforcement officers who could fix legal problems, according to court records. After bragging about her connections, Flores convinced people to pay her thousands of dollars.
The legal problems, though, didn’t go away.
Following a flurry of complaints, investigators arrested Flores on theft charges. The Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office agreed to recommend an 18-month prison sentence if she pleaded guilty.
“By all indications, it seems that these cases would be contested,” attorney Jose Antonio Solis, who represents Flores, told state District Judge Marla Cuellar during a hearing on Wednesday morning. “However, prior to making that announcement, we would like to sit down and discuss this with the district attorney’s office.”
Flores is charged with three counts of theft, a state jail felony. If convicted at trial, she would face a maximum of two years in prison on each count.
Solis asked for additional time to review the case and meet with prosecutors. Cuellar approved his request and told Solis to return with a decision on Aug. 16.
“That is the final plea deadline date, Mr. Solis,” Cuellar said. “That should be plenty of time for you to staff this case with the district attorney’s office, as well as negotiate, if that’s going to be necessary.”
District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez said prosecutors offered Flores 18 months in prison on each case. The sentences would run concurrently.
Flores would also pay tens of thousands of dollars in restitution.
“We’ve had good communication with the victims,” Rodriguez said. “They’ve been apprised about what’s going on.”
In 2018, when Flores pleaded guilty in a similar theft case, a judge placed her on community supervision for three years.
After her arrests, Flores blamed Reynaldo Cardenas III of La Joya for the charges.
His wife claimed that Flores had scammed her in 2019. Furious about what happened, Cardenas searched for other victims and encouraged them to file complaints with law enforcement.
Flores believed that Cardenas had a vendetta against her. Complaints about Flores, however, surfaced years before her dispute with Cardenas.
In August 2017, a man contacted the Alton Police Department about Flores, according to documents released under the Texas Public Information Act.
The man said Flores claimed she “had connections with the State of Texas” and would expedite his citizenship application for $5,000.
He paid, but Flores never did anything, according to the report. Alton considered the dispute a civil matter. No charges were filed.
“We want to put this to an end,” Rodriguez said. “Hopefully now, with doing time, she learns a lesson.”