Investment Account of Former Mexican Governor’s Political Appointee Seized by United States
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX—An investment account located in McAllen, Texas alleged to be owned by Homero De La Garza Tamez, former Instituto Tamaulipeco De Vivienda Y Urbanismo (ITAVU) Director in the State of Tamaulipas, Mexico, has been seized by the United States government as a result of an the efforts of a multi-agency Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas announced today.
The account, which is held at UBS Financial Services, Inc. in McAllen, Texas, contained $1,109,989.66 as of November 4, 2014. The government alleged, as its basis for forfeiture, that the funds in the account were involved in a money laundering transaction, that the property constitutes or was derived from proceeds traceable to offenses including bribery of a public official, or the misappropriation, theft, or embezzlement of public funds by or for the benefit of a public official.
The government alleged in the civil forfeiture complaint that the account holder of the UBS investment account is Homero De La Garza Tamez, who transferred bribe monies from Mexico into the account in the United States.
ITAVU is the Tamaulipas Institute for Housing and Urban Development. Homero De La Garza was appointed to the position of director of ITAVU by former Tamaulipas Govenor Eugenio Hernandez Flores. ITAVU is the department in Tamaulipas responsible for supporting lower income residents with housing programs and financing programs. One of the programs under ITAVU assisted municipalities by paying half of the costs associated with the repair of city streets and the construction of new streets within their city. The city would pay the remaining half of the costs. The program did not require municipalities to participate in the program. ITAVU also developed properties and built homes, in conjunction with providing special financing programs, which allowed low income families to move into new homes.
The complaint alleges that, during his tenure as the director of ITAVU, Homero De La Garza Tamez would receive bribery money from government contractors who received contracts from the state government of Tamaulipas after Homero De La Garza Tamez and others would falsify and manipulate the contracts during the bidding process. The complaint further alleges that Homero De La Garza received multiple of these types of payments throughout his political career and that he received these bribes in the forms of cash and bank deposits made into his bank accounts, including the UBS account.
The complaint seeks the forfeiture of the $1,109,986.66 held in the investment account at UBS Financial Service, Inc.
The investigation leading to the civil forfeiture complaint was conducted through OCDETF in McAllen, San Antonio, Brownsville, Houston, and Corpus Christi. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Texas Attorney General’s Office, and the Leon Valley Police Department conducted the investigation.
This case is being prosecuted in the Southern District of Texas by Assistant United States Attorney Julie K. Hampton.