Former Maverick County Commissioner, Former County Employee, and Three Contractors Sentenced to Federal Prison in Connection with a Bribery, Kickback, and Bid-Rigging Scheme
In Del Rio today, a former Maverick County commissioner, a former Maverick County employee and three contractors were sentenced for their roles in a bribery, kickback and bid-rigging scheme that caused the County to lose more than $1.3 million announced Acting United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.
“The corruption in the cases sentenced this week works like a cancer on the body politic, eating away public confidence in local government. We will make every effort to counter its effects and hold accountable those who abuse the public trust for their personal gain,” stated Acting United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr.
“These defendants created a culture of corruption that spread throughout Maverick County, enabling theft and waste to thrive while taxpayers and honest businesses suffered,” stated FBI SAC Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.
United States District Judge Alia Moses sentenced:
- Former Maverick County Precinct 2 Commissioner Rodolfo Bainet Heredia, age 56, to 10 years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and ordered him to perform 1,200 hours of community service after completing his prison term. Heredia was also ordered to pay a maximum $567,003.88 in restitution to Maverick County. On June 4, 2013, Heredia pleaded guilty to one count of receiving a bribe by an agent of an organization receiving federal funds. By pleading guilty, Heredia admitted that in 2010 and 2011, he manipulated the bidding process to guarantee that contractors he chose would be awarded Maverick County construction contracts. Furthermore, Heredia admitted that he instructed the private contractors to submit inflated bids to Maverick County in order to ensure the availability of sufficient funds to perform the construction work, make a profit, and also to pay him bribes;
- Alejandra Garcia, a 28-year old former Maverick County employee whose duty was to issue Maverick County checks to private contractors, to 109 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and ordered her to perform 800 hours of community service after completing her prison term. Garcia was also ordered to pay a maximum $382,254.29 in restitution to Maverick County and to report to federal authorities no later than June 8, 2015, to begin serving her prison term. In January 2013, Garcia pleaded guilty to receiving numerous cash payments of $200 to $500 in bribes from contractors and commissioners in return for her issuing thousands of dollars in Maverick County checks to contractors before the funds were approved for issuance by the Maverick County auditor’s office;
- Marcelo Alvarez, a 56-year-old surveyor and consultant from Eagle Pass, to 112 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a maximum $1,022,303.94 restitution to Maverick County. In April 2014, Alvarez pleaded guilty to one count of paying a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds. According to court documents, between 2010 and 2012, Alvarez paid $100 to $200 on multiple occasions to Maverick County elected officials, including two county commissioners, for their support in securing county construction projects. Ultimately, Maverick County paid in excess of $800,000 to Amistad Consulting, a company to which Alvarez was connected, to perform engineering, project management and consulting services for the county. Alvarez, designated by Amistad Consulting as the Resident Project Representative, received payment for his services of approximately $300,000 between 2010 and 2012;
- Salvador Castillon, 53-year-old owner of South Texas Concrete based in Eagle Pass, to 87 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. Castillon was also ordered to pay a maximum $175,804.71 in restitution to Maverick County and perform 800 hours of community service after completing his prison term. Judge Moses also ordered that Castillon report to federal authorities by June 8, 2015, to begin serving his sentence. In December 2013, Castillon pleaded guilty to one count of paying a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds. According to court records, Castillon was awarded Maverick County construction contracts totaling $416,800 in 2010 and $148,000 in 2011. Castillon admitted that during that time period, he paid then Maverick County Precinct 2 commissioner Rodolfo Bainet Heredia approximately $57,000 in return for being awarded the construction contracts; and,
- Saul Lombrana, 65-year-old owner and operator of Fiesta Contractors based in Eagle Pass, to 33 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. Lombrana was also ordered to pay a maximum $14,500.00 in restitution to Maverick County and perform 300 hours of community service after completing his prison term. Judge Moses also ordered that Lombrana report to federal authorities by June 8, 2015, to begin serving his sentence. In February 2014, Lombrana pleaded guilty to one count of paying a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds. By pleading guilty, Lombrana admitted that in March 2011, he submitted a $14,500 bid to construct 155 linear feet of concrete drain swell on Rafael Street in Precinct 1. After being awarded the contract, Lombrana never constructed the concrete drain swell, but requested and received full payment for the project. Of the $14,500 he received, Lombrana admittedly only kept $5,000 while giving the rest to a Maverick County employee Jaime Flores as a bribe.
This afternoon, Judge Moses remanded Maverick County Precinct 4 Commissioner Cesar Flores into federal custody while postponing his sentencing. A new sentencing date has yet to be scheduled. On September 5, 2013, Flores pleaded guilty to one count of receiving a bribe. By pleading guilty, Flores admitted that he agreed to be influenced and rewarded for using his position to ensure that certain contractors were awarded construction contracts in Maverick County Precinct 4 in 2010 and in 2011.
To date, eight individuals have been sentenced in connection with this investigation. Hipolito Amaya, Jose Aguilar and David Gelacio have previously received sentences of 41 months’ incarceration, 14 months’ incarceration and 12 months’ incarceration, respectively. Nine more defendants are scheduled for sentencing tomorrow in Del Rio before Judge Moses.
This case is part of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from Customs and Border Protection Office of Internal Affairs, Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigative Division, Texas Rangers, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Eagle Pass ISD Police Department. Individuals who have first-hand information about corruption, fraud, or bribery related to Maverick County are urged to contact the FBI at (210) 225-6741. Assistant United States Attorneys Bryan N. Reeves, Michael Galdo and Katie Griffin prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.