Former West Texas Mayor Pleads Guilty To Stealing Money From The City Of Toyah
In Midland, 41–year-old Bartolo Sanchez, former mayor of Toyah, Texas, faces three years in federal prison as well as restitution after pleading guilty this morning to stealing approximately $100,000 from the city based on fraudulent mileage reimbursement claims and personal expenditures announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Mark Morgan.
Appearing before United States District Judge Robert A. Junell this morning, Sanchez pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. By pleading guilty, Sanchez admitted that on May 14, 2009, and unbeknownst to the Toyah City Council, Sanchez signed a $228,132.54 settlement agreement with Chesapeake Operating, Inc. for repairs of surface damage on Toyah streets caused by Chesapeake vehicles. Sanchez deposited that money into a new Toyah bank account that he created.
Furthermore, having signatory authority on all city bank accounts, Sanchez admittedly wrote checks to himself from various city bank accounts, including the one he created from the Chesapeake settlement, based predominantly upon fraudulent mileage reimbursement claims but also for various expenses, most of which were personal in nature and had little or nothing to do with official City business. So as to not raise the suspicions of City Council members as to his scheme, Sanchez forged a required second signature on all of the checks he issued to himself.
From May 2006 until December 2012, Sanchez served as the elected mayor of Toyah, a city located approximately 22 miles west of Pecos, Texas, comprising approximately 1.6 square miles and having a population of about 100 residents.
Sentencing for Sanchez has yet to be scheduled. He remains on bond pending sentencing.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Austin Berry is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.