County worker pleads not guilty to identity theft charges

Charlotte Vargas

Charlotte Vargas

POLK COUNTY — Charlotte Ray Vargas, 42, pleaded not guilty on Jan. 4 to six counts of identity theft and one count of first-degree official misconduct.

Vargas was arrested on 20 counts of identity theft- and forgery-related charges on Dec. 27.

She was lodged at Polk County Jail, with bail set at $217,500 and was released on Jan. 6.

Vargas, also known as Charlotte Rosillo, was an office specialist at Polk County Behavioral Health, according to court documents.

She was charged with nine counts of second-degree forgery, nine counts of identity theft, and one count each of computer crime and first-degree official misconduct.

Vargas was a county employee for three years, said Matt Hawkins, Polk County human resources director.

On Dec. 21, Jeff Williams, of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, contacted Hawkins about an identity theft case and possible misconduct, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Hawkins said he was told by attorney Corey B. Smith’s office that Vargas was sending letters to her creditors on the attorney’s letterhead to get the creditors to stop requesting payment for debt she owed, according to the document.

The attorney’s office said they did not draft the letters and that they were fraudulent, according to the affidavit.

Hawkins said he checked Vargas’ work email, and it appeared to him that she drafted the letters while on her county computer and sent them from her county email to her personal email, the affidavit states.

Hawkins said he contacted Vargas about the issue on Dec. 17, and at that time she was placed on administration leave pending investigation, the affidavit states.

Vargas recently changed her name from Rosillo, Hawkins told officers.

Smith’s office said Vargas was their client in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which was filed on July 6, 2016.

After it was discharged on Oct. 12, 2016, Vargas was no longer their client, court documents state.

Smith’s office said it had been contacted by five creditors who said they received letters from him asking them to stop their collections attempts regarding Vargas, the affidavit states.

According the probable cause affidavit, fraudulent letters were sent to Professional Credit Services, First Primer Bank, Total Visa, TRS Recovery and Cascade Collections.

Smith’s office said the fraudulent letters appeared to be sent out in 2016, but the date on them was changed to Nov. 8, 2018.

Hawkins’ investigation revealed Vargas was on duty when she used her work computer to send fraudulent documents to the Polk County payroll administrator, in an attempt to stop three garnishments against her pay.

Vargas, under the name Charlotte Rosillo, was charged in December 2017 on four counts of second-degree forgery and four counts of negotiating a bad check.

She was convicted on two counts of second-degree forgery and two counts of negotiating a bad check and sentenced to six months of probation.

Her next court date is scheduled for Jan. 17.

Mark Garton, Polk County Sheriff, said the investigation is ongoing.

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