(April 14, 2021) The city of Huntington Park was the victim of a large-scale security breach, of electronic financial records, in the Finance Department. As a result, the Huntington Park Police Department (HPPD) initiated a criminal investigation which resulted in the April 8 arrest of a long-time city employee.
Teresa Garcia, was booked into the Los Angeles County jail at 8:30pm facing felony charges alleging her role in obtaining financial records, including employee’s personal identification information, for an unknown use.
2UrbanGirls was able to reach the city’s mayor to determine the extent of the security breach,
“As an elected official, I do not handle personnel matters, that is the role of the City Administrators. However, I can tell you that a serious data breach of confidential data, that includes employee’s identity information, was performed by an employee in the City’s finance department and was discovered by the city’s police department, and the investigation and case was turned over to an independent agency, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department which resulted in the arrest of the employee,” said Mayor Graciela Ortiz, “Finance staff was placed on temporary paid administrative leave to maximize the integrity of the on-going Sheriff investigation.
“When I took office 6 years ago, I vowed that I will always put the community first and will not allow any corruption or mishandling of our city’s finances because our residents deserve transparency and every single city employee will be held to the highest level of service to include honesty and integrity as they work for the residents of Huntington Park,” said Ortiz.
Ortiz was unable to comment on what was stolen due to the ongoing criminal investigation, but reiterated the security breach included employee’s confidential information.
Teresa Garcia, has worked in the city’s Finance Department for over 10 years. She was booked on felony charges and cited out hours later, with a scheduled court appearance August 9 at Downey Municipal Court.
A source very close to the investigation has informed 2UrbanGirls that an individual, Linda Guevara, who now goes by the name Linda Caraballo, might also be a person of interest.
Guevara is a disgruntled ex-councilmember of the City of Huntington Park who went to jail for not living in the city while serving on the city council.
Sources tell us that Caraballo may have been a recipient of the personal identity documents, that Garcia is accused of stealing from the City.
In 2002, Guevara was convicted on four felony counts for lying about her residency — claiming to live in Huntington Park when she really lived in Downey.
Guevara’s conviction was the first time an elected official might be ousted from office by Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley’s public integrity unit. Guevara was suspended from the city council, and was sentenced to 180 days in county jail, five years probation and a $200 fine.
The Sheriff’s Department who is an independent agency from the city of Huntington Park is handling the ongoing investigation.