CLAY COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — While details remain limited, new information has come to light regarding charges against Clay County’s Tax Assessor-Collector.
Earlier Thursday afternoon, August 11, 2022, Texoma’s Homepage reported Maribel Longoria, 40, was booked and soon released from Clay County Jail on Thursday morning.
Longoria is charged with misapplication of fiduciary funds over $300,000. Her bond was set at $50,000 on at least one count.
Members of the KFDX Newsroom attempted to contact county officials regarding Longoria, but those who spoke with the newsroom said they either cannot discuss specifics or do not know enough details to comment.
Clay County Judge Mike Campbell said he cannot talk about the situation because all the discussions Clay County Commissioners had on the matter occurred during a closed session.
Texoma’s Homepage has confirmed that the Texas Comptroller’s office began an investigation in July 2021 that led to Longoria’s charges following an extensive audit. The brief investigation report filed by the Comptroller’s office states Longoria intentionally or knowingly failed to comply with statutes on reporting tax money, placing $9.2 million at risk over the course of four years.
The charges against Longoria appear to involve repeated failure or delay to deposit funds and specifically, knowingly or recklessly misapplying more than $1.5 million in funds in 2018.
The Comptroller’s investigators said the investigation into Longoria was opened following a complaint that Longoria was not remitting fees and taxes collected for motor vehicle sales to the State of Texas and not placing funds in the vault for safe keeping as required by law.
After discovering funds were not being deposited on time or placed into the vault, two letters were sent to Longoria informing her of the need to make timely deposits. Officials said Longoria continued to fail to make deposits on time, prompting a third letter.
Investigators said the County Auditor reported she made spot audits of the Tax Assessor’s Office after noticing discrepancies for an extended period of time.
The auditor said at one point in time, at least six deposits were missing, which were not found in the office or in the vault where they were supposed to be kept before being deposited in the bank. She said she then took the issue before the Clay County Commissioner’s Court in an executive session.
The auditor then told investigators after commissioners spoke to Longoria, that the missing deposits were suddenly made into the Tax Assessor-Collector’s bank accounts.
She said there were times the accounts Longoria maintained would be close to overdrawn and money would be transferred between accounts to cover payments to the State of Texas as well as payments to Clay County.
Longoria has been Tax Assessor-Collector for Clay County since 2013, and prior to that, she was the Deputy Tax Assessor-Collector.
This is a developing story. Stick with Texoma’s Homepage for updates as they become available.