Cook County

Convicted Scammer Who Posed as State Worker Back Behind Bars: Authorities

A man who was convicted of posing as a Secretary of State worker and promising to help people fix their tickets is back behind bars after a warrant was issued for his arrest, authorities say.

Hugo Torres, 43, spent time in jail last year for theft. He was later released. But Torres was arrested Wednesday on a $10,000 misdemeanor warrant and briefly held at Cook County Jail. Authorities said Torres was scheduled to be transported to Will County, where he faces a felony charge.

But while Torres is once again in custody, Darlene Quintero told NBC 5 Investigates she's out hundreds of dollars after she said Torres convinced her he could help get her a job with the state. She said Torres also took her payment for an outstanding ticket.

"We could just give him the money and he would take care of everything at once," she said. "Job security. You have a family. You want the best for yourself and your family."

Single mom Elisa Miranda says she too was convinced that Torres could help her.

"My mind started going everywhere; what I could do for my kids," she said. "What I could do for myself."

They're joined by others who contacted private investigator Michael Colella, who says Torres would meet people at ATM machines or have them wire cash.

"None of these victims were thinking that we are doing anything wrong," Colella said. "They actually thought they were talking to a supervisor at the Department of Motor Vehicles."

Mario Freeman said Torres seemed very professional.

"[He said] I could move up in life and he had my hopes and dreams up for me to change stuff around for the family," he said.

The Secretary of State's office says it will prosecute Torres to the fullest extent of the law.

Anyone who feels they have experienced similar behavior is encouraged to contact the secretary of state's inspector general at 630-424-2564 or 217-785-2012, or go to

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