Mission man accused of stealing from Edinburg car dealership, forging signatures

Edinburg police believe a Mission man forged customer signatures and stole more than $20,000 in down payments made for the purchase of vehicles at a car dealership.

Authorities arrested 32-year-old Sergio Alberto Gonzalez Jr. last Friday and charged him with theft of property, more than $2,500 but less than $30,000, and 11 counts of forgery of a financial instrument.

The investigation into Gonzalez began Feb. 2 when a detective responded to the Payne Used Car Dealership at 3301 W. University Drive to speak with the general manager, who said he had received a call from the dealership’s corporate office as a reminder about upcoming monies due for several deals that were made, according to the arrest affidavit.

“He began to inquire what down payments were pending,” the document stated.

That review revealed a total of $21,940 in missing money from down payments for deals made between June and December last year and also showed discrepancies on customer signatures, according to police.

“Investigator Liza Zuniga … will testify that through the course of the investigation, affidavits were obtained in which Sergio was identified as the person who took the down payment money for the purchase of their vehicle(s),” the affidavit stated.

The customers confirmed to the investigator that their signatures were forged without their consent on documents attached to the purchase of their vehicle, police say.

Authorities also alleged in the affidavit that Gonzalez provided a statement where he implicated himself.

He remained jailed Tuesday on a total of $120,000 in bonds, records show.