Former El Paso County Judge Anthony Cobos Sentenced to Federal Prison in El Paso Corruption Case
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 03, 2014|
This afternoon, former El Paso County Judge Anthony Cobos and Lorenzo Hilario Aguilar were each sentenced to four years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for their roles in a “pay-to-play” scheme uncovered during the ongoing public corruption investigation in El Paso, announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist.
United States District Judge Frank Montalvo also ordered that the 46–year-old Cobos pay a $10,000 fine; the 63-year-old Aguilar, a $50,000 fine. Furthermore, Judge Montalvo ordered Cobos and Aguilar to surrender to federal authorities on or before February 11, 2014, to begin serving their prison terms.
In September, Cobos and Aguilar each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and deprivation of honest services. By pleading guilty, the defendants admitted that in 2007, they participated in a bribery scheme involving former El Paso County Judge Anthony Cobos’ vote and influence on El Paso County contracts. According to court records, Cobos accepted bribes in the form of cash money and other benefits, including campaign contributions to Cobos-supported individuals running for the El Paso City Council in exchange for his vote and influence in refinancing approximately $40 million of El Paso County debt and to terminate the then-El Paso County financial adviser’s contract and replace with another company.
“The sentences handed down today should reassure the public that we will be relentless in pursuing those who would attempt to corrupt public officials as well as those public officials who violate their public trust for personal gain,” stated U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman.
This FBI investigation has resulted in 39 federal convictions—36 individuals who entered guilty pleas and three individuals who were convicted by juries.
“Nothing destroys public confidence more than those who illegally conspire to benefit from taxpayer dollars. The FBI is committed to protecting the El Paso community by holding violators personally accountable for their actions,” stated FBI SAC Douglas E. Lindquist.
Assistant United States Attorney William F. Lewis, Jr. prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.