The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Fired employee faces charge

Joel Enrique Vela
Joel Enrique Vela

By Steve Knight/editor-in-chief

Joel Enrique Vela
Joel Enrique Vela

A recently fired TCC employee was charged with forging supervisor signatures on vouchers before submitting them to receive cash for purchases that were never made, according to police.

Joel Enrique Vela, 30, former special projects coordinator in the NE Campus continuing education department, faces a charge of theft by a public official between $50 and $500, according to a TCC police report.

TCC officers arrested Vela Nov. 11 on NE Campus and transferred him to the Hurst Detention Center, where he was booked, arraigned and released on bond, according to a Hurst police report.

According to the TCC police incident report obtained under the Texas Open Government Act, police officers on Trinity River Campus were first notified Nov. 5 by two employees that signatures on five petty cash vouchers cashed by business services were forged.

The forged signatures were discovered when a business services employee noticed an incorrect account number on one of the petty cash vouchers.

The report said that four other vouchers, signed under the name Alex Sanchez, also bore an incorrect supervisor’s signature on the dean or division chairperson line.

Vela said he could not comment on the incident.

“I am not able to do that,” he said.

The vouchers, dated between Oct. 21 and Nov. 2, with amounts of either $45 or $50, were for Wal-Mart purchases for supplies, the TR dedication and a door prize.

With the exception of the voucher requesting payment for a Wal-Mart gift card, no receipts were attached.

After police asked TR business services employees to notify other campuses of the possible forgeries under the Sanchez name, South Campus informed police of two petty cash vouchers that were cashed by the same person in the amounts of $46.97 and $50, the report said.

NW employees also advised police of a single cash voucher for $50 with a Sanchez signature, indicating purchase of two Wal-Mart gift cards.

Business services employees on SE Campus discovered two suspicious vouchers for $47.97 and $44, this time with a signature of Juan Sanchez for supplies purchased at Wal-Mart.

An employee supplied police with Vela’s picture from a TCC Halloween event after identification by other employees.

Employees on other campuses identified Vela from the Halloween picture and his driver’s license photo, the report said.

The investigation is ongoing, TCC Police Chief Frank Buchanan said.

According to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, no hearing date has been set.

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