Former University at San Antonio Projects Manager Indicted by Federal Grand Jury in Connection with a Bribery Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 23, 2013|
A federal grand jury in San Antonio this week returned a bribery indictment against 41–year-old James Paul Council, a former project manager in the Facilities Department at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and three other San Antonio area residents in connection with a bribery scheme announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Armando Fernandez. As of today, all four defendants have surrendered to federal authorities.
The 17-count indictment charges Council; 47-year-old Alfredo Romero Gonzalez, owner of Power Source Electric, an electrical construction and repair business in San Antonio; 60-year-old Power Source Electric chief estimator and project manager Magin Villalon (a.k.a. “Buddy”); and Villalon’s wife, 56-year-old Sarah Anne Luna, with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and four counts of mail fraud. Council is also charged with six counts of receiving a bribe; the other defendants, six counts of paying a bribe.
According to the indictment, from approximately August 2011 through September 2012, the defendants allegedly conducted a scheme to bribe a purchasing officer in order to secure UTSA construction contracts. The indictment further alleges that the defendants colluded in the submission of fraudulent, inflated bids to UTSA under the names of sham companies, GNZ Enterprise LLC and Vista Contracting, and fixed at least 40 UTSA contracts. Authorities estimate the submitted bids totaled more than $200,000. Furthermore, the indictment alleges that Council received cash, as well as improvements to his residence for his role in the scheme.
Upon conviction, the defendants face up to five years’ imprisonment on the conspiracy count, up to 10 years’ imprisonment for each bribery related count, and up to 20 years in federal prison for each mail fraud count. All four defendants are on bond pending further court proceedings.
This indictment resulted from an investigation conducted by the agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, together with the San Antonio Police Department and the University of Texas at San Antonio Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney James Blankinship is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.