THOMASVILLE -- A man indicted last month on nine counts of financial fraud and forgery faces a new charge.

Luis Zapata of Dream Home of Georgia on U.S. 319 North and a relative, Ynez Ruiz Zapata, president and owner of the company, are charged with felony theft by taking.

A Thomas County woman who read a Feb. 8 Times-Enterprise story about the Zapata indictment became concerned about money she gave the suspect almost two years ago.

The woman gave Zapata $1,500 on a mobile home/land package, said Lt. Tim Watkins, Thomas County Sheriff's department chief investigator.

The woman told investigators she contacted Zapata repeatedly about the money.

"They kept trying to close the deal, but it never happened," Watkins said about the woman's contact with the mobile home business. Zapata kept "putting her off," the investigator explained.

The Thomasville regional office of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation joined the probe.

A GBI agent and Watkins sent the woman back to Zapata a number of times to ask for her money, to no avail.

According to Watkins, Zapata told the woman a check was in the mail. Another time he told her she had to fill out a form. When she did, Zapata said she did not provide correct information, Watkins explained.

Both Zapatas were charged with felony theft by taking -- Luis Zapata, 37, 360 Baldwin Road, because took the woman's money, and Ynez Ruiz Zapata, 30, 11797 U.S. 319 North, because she owns the company.

Both posted bond and were released from the Thomas County Jail.

In the 2001 case, Luis Zapata is charged with forging mobile home customers' names on loan applications.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 220.

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