Former El Paso County Judge Charged with Conspiring to Steal and Embezzle Federal Program Funds in Texas
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 20, 2011|
ALBUQUERQUE—Former El Paso County Judge Dolores Briones, 60, has been charged with conspiracy to commit theft or embezzlement of federal program funds, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales. Briones, who now resides in Austin, Tex., is charged in a one-count criminal information that was filed under seal in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas on December 9, 2011. The information was unsealed earlier today.
According to the information, from June 2005 through December 2006, Briones conspired with others to accept more than $5,000.00 in exchange for influencing the award of a federal program grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The information seeks forfeiture of assets in the amount of $35,000.00, the amount of the proceeds Briones allegedly obtained as a result of the offense charged.
Briones faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment if convicted of the conspiracy offense charged in the information.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the case is being prosecuted by Steven C. Yarbrough, First Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of New Mexico.
Charges in criminal complaints, indictments and informations are only accusations. All criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.