Hidalgo HUD Officials Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bribery
MCALLEN, TX—Susana Munguia, 60, and Lubina Pedraza, 53, both of Hidalgo, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Munguia and Pedraza were former officials with the City of Hidalgo Housing Authority who worked directly with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP). Munguia was the executive director and Pedraza was a secretary.
From July 2011 to May 2014, Munguia and Pedraza admitted they used their positions as public officials to engage in a bribery scheme. The two women solicited and received bribes in exchange for allowing individuals to skip the Section 8 waitlist and immediately obtain housing assistance from the HCVP. Individuals paid, directly or through a third party, a monetary bribe to Munguia and Pedraza in order to bypass the waitlist system and to receive immediate approval to obtain vouchers for housing subsidies under the HCVP.
Munguia supervised and Pedraza was responsible for assigning housing to the payee or beneficiary and issued checks to subsidize their rent payments. After Munguia and Pedraza received the bribe, the paying party (or the person for whom payment was made), would immediately receive their subsidized housing.
As part of their guilty plea today, Munguia and Pedraza have agreed to forfeit approximately $14,497 in illicit proceeds.
Judge Micaela Alvarez accepted the pleas today and has set sentencing for Sept. 24, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. At that time each woman faces up to five years for their bribery conspiracy conviction. They were permitted to remain on bond pending their sentencing.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by HUD-Office of Inspector General and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Rees is prosecuting the case.