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Former Denton County Tax Office employee, Lewisville woman indicted in bribery scheme

Two people who were arrested last September in connection with a misconduct investigation at the Denton County Tax Office have been indicted on felony bribery charges. 

Tramanski JohnsonDenton County Jail
Tramanski Johnson
Denton County Jail

The investigation, conducted by the Denton County Sheriff's Office, centered on a complex scheme involving bribes to process fraudulent vehicle title transfers.

Former tax office employee Tramanski Johnson, 34, who worked as an office supervisor at the Lewisville branch, was booked into Denton County Jail on Sept. 12 after turning himself in on the bribery charge. Records show he posted his $2,500 bail the same day. 

Lewisville resident Juana Caballero, a 38-year-old notary public who allegedly notarized forged documents, was booked on the bribery charge Sept. 11. She also posted her $2,500 bail the same day of her booking. 

Juana CaballeroDenton County Jail
Juana Caballero
Denton County Jail

Their cases have been assigned to Judge Steve Burgess' 158th Judicial District Court. They do not yet have a hearing date. 

County court records did not list a court-appointed attorney for Johnson. Caballero has retained Denton criminal defense attorney Derek Adame, who did not respond to a request for comment. 

County Tax Assessor/Collector Michelle French, who heads the tax office, declined to comment on the open case. 

The tax office collects property taxes, renews vehicle registrations and contracts with several car dealerships to issue titles on new vehicles. The office has six locations within the county, including Lewisville, Cross Roads, Frisco and Flower Mound. The main Denton office is at 1505 E. McKinney St.

A sheriff's office investigator first learned about allegations of a county employee accepting bribes to process known fraudulent title transfers on July 31, according to the suspects' arrest affidavit.

On Aug. 2, Johnson told a sheriff's office investigator that he accepted 80 cash bribes from Caballero to process the fraudulent title transfers, the affidavit said. He said he was paid $100 per transaction.

Later that day, the investigator contacted Caballero at AA Auto Sales in the 1000 block of Texas Street in Lewisville.  The affidavit did not specify who Caballero works for, only that she signed and notarized "several documents as an authorized agent for other dealerships," the affidavit said. No car dealerships were identified in the affidavit.

Although police said she was a "common link" in the fraudulent transactions, she denied ever giving Johnson paperwork to process. She also said she paid "what she needed to" for the transfers. 

Later in their investigation, police identified two title documents, notarized by Caballero, that contained forged signatures, according to the affidavit. Investigators then obtained arrest warrants for both Johnson and Caballero on Sept. 11.

French previously told the Denton Record-Chronicle that Johnson, a Dallas resident, was first hired at the tax office in 2010. She said he took another job for about two years before returning.

Johnson was placed on administrative leave Aug. 2 and submitted a letter of resignation on Aug. 3, according to documents obtained through an open records request.

He most recently worked as an office supervisor, according to the resignation letter.

JULIAN GILL can be reached at 940-566-6882.