Austin man accused of stealing $50,000 from woman

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by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News and Photojournalist DENNIS THOMAS

kvue.com

Posted on June 19, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 20 at 10:25 AM

AUSTIN -- An Austin man is charged with theft from a woman after police say he stole more than $56,700 from her.

Jesse Cruz, 41, is charged with a 2nd degree felony. Austin police are looking to arrest him.

Detectives say Cruz had been claiming to do work for an Austin woman who suffers from dementia. Over the course of several months, police say the woman made large withdrawals from her bank account. Since July 2012, the woman took out 25 checks in the amount of $43,220 and cash withdrawals in the amount of $13,500. 

The checks had memos such as "remodeling," "mold removal" and "foundation work." Cruz claims to have done power washing on the woman's home along with other major repairs.

Detectives inspected the woman's home and found no work or improvements had been done. After checking city records with the City of Austin Code Compliance Department, investigators discovered the last permit issued to work on the woman's home was in 2009. Inspectors arrived at the woman's home and told investigators that no foundation work had been done.

Neighbors who live nearby say they've never seen any work being done on the woman's home.

Another neighbor says she noticed a suspicious man lurking around her friend's place.

According to a public records search, Cruz has extensive criminal history related to financial crimes. His record dates back to 1995 and includes several convictions such as forgery, theft of checks, theft from elderly, assault and failure to maintain financial responsibility.

Cruz has been in jail several times. Investigators believe there could be other victims. Anyone with information is asked to call the Austin Police Department.

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