A local man received two years probation for utilizing a fraudulent professional engineer's seal to conduct more than 400 fake windstorm certifications, law enforcement officials announced last week.

The June 29 announcement came at a precarious time for local residents, who have just entered the start of hurricane season.

In September 2006, the Corpus Christi City Manager requested that the Corpus Christi Police Department investigate allegations involving windstorm certifications. Following a lengthy investigation by the Corpus Christi Police Department and the Texas Department of Insurance, Gary Garza was indicted in Travis County for his fraudulent use of more than one licensed professional engineer’s seal.

In January, Garza entered a plea of guilty to tampering with a government record and was sentenced to two years probation and a $1,000 fine.

Investigators found a total of 425 properties which had been fraudulently certified. The city is in the process of sending out letters to those residents to notify them of their windstorm certification status.

“No city employees were involved in this illegal activity, however, public safety is paramount to me and the officers of the CCPD. Although the department is not involved with the windstorm certification, I feel it is my duty to bring this to (the public's) attention,” CCPD Chief Troy Riggs said.

Those residents who were victims of fraudulent certifications are asked to contact the Texas Department of Insurance at (800) 248-6032.