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December 1, 2014

Campaign Manager Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Buy Votes in a Donna, Texas School Board Election

WASHINGTON—A campaign manager pleaded guilty today in the Southern District of Texas for conspiring with others to pay voters to vote in a Donna, Texas, school board election, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas. Five campaign workers have already pleaded guilty to vote-buying charges in connection with this election.

Francisco “Frankie” Garcia, 47, of Donna, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to buy votes and one count of vote-buying in connection with the November 2012 general election. Garcia’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 24, 2015, before Chief Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

At his plea hearing, Garcia admitted that a general election was held on Nov. 6, 2012, in Donna, Texas, which included candidates for the presidential election, as well as candidates for various state, county and local offices, including members of the Donna School Board. Garcia worked as a campaign manager for four school board candidates, and he and others agreed to pay voters with cash and cocaine to vote for those candidates.

This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Monique Abrishami and Maria Lerner of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo J. Leo of the Southern District of Texas.

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