2/6/2008Texas: Toll Road Manipulates Bank Check
Texas toll road officials may have fraudulently altered a check to collect a claimed debt from a motorist.
A Texas toll road agency may have altered a check in order to withdraw an unauthorized amount of money from a motorist's bank account. The adventure began for Brian Gibbs when he entered the Texas 121 North toll road. He was immediately confused because there were no toll booths where he could pay to use the road, and no signs warned him of this in advance. He did not realize one has to purchase a TxTag toll transponder before driving on the road, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
The Texas Tollways Customer Service Center then sent Gibbs a bill for $2.60 in skipped tolls and $3 in fees, for a total of $5.60. Gibbs sent only a check for what he believed that he owed, $2.60. According to deposit records, his check had been physically altered so that the toll agency could withdraw the full $5.60. Although the amount involved is small, wrongful appropriation by check may be considered theft under Texas law.
"A person commits an offense if he unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of property," Texas Code Section 31.03 states.
The Star-Telegram contact a TxDOT official who said the incident would be investigated but downplayed its importance because only $3 was involved.