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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 2, 2013

Two Eagle Pass Residents Enter Guilty Pleas In Connection With Maverick County Bribery, Kickback And Bid-Rigging Scheme

Maverick County Precinct One Commissioner Eliaz Maldonado and Maverick County Probation Officer and general contractor Javier Gonzalez each face up to ten years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty this morning to a bribery charge in connection with an alleged bribery, kickback and bid-rigging scheme that caused a loss to Maverick County of thousands of dollars announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Armando Fernandez.

Appearing before United States Magistrate Judge Victor Garcia in Del Rio, Maldonado, age 52, pleaded guilty to one count of receiving a bribe. According to court records, in 2010 and 2011, Maldonado, through his employees, admitted to manipulating the bidding process to guarantee that contractors he chose would be awarded Maverick County construction contracts. Those contractors deposited the checks issued to them by Maverick County and then made cash payments to Maldonado. The private contractors submitted inflated bids to Maverick County in order for there to be sufficient funds to perform the construction work, make a profit, and pay the bribe to Maldonado. The contracts in total involved more than $100,000 of county funds and Maldonado received a payment between $500 and $3,500 at least twelve times during the scheme.

Gonzalez, age 42, pleaded guilty to one count of paying a bribe. By pleading guilty, Gonzalez admitted that in 2010 and 2011, he entered into a scheme with different Maverick County officials whereby he would be guaranteed county construction contracts in return for paying money to the official whose precinct the construction work was supposed to be performed in. According to court documents, after Gonzalez was selected to do the work, he would be paid via checks issued by Maverick County. Gonzalez would deposit or cash the checks, then give the officials thousands of dollars from the money Maverick County had paid him. The contracts Maverick County awarded Gonzalez involved more than $400,000 of county funds in 2010 and 2011 combined. The total loss to Maverick County as a result of Gonzalez’ actions was approximately $156,000.

Both Maldonado and Gonzalez were admonished in court that in addition to any imprisonment or fine, they could each be ordered to pay restitution at the time of sentencing.

Maldonado and Gonzalez each remain on bond pending sentencing scheduled for October 7, 2013 before United States District Judge Alia Moses.

To date, nine individuals are awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to charges stemming from this investigation being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Charges against five individuals are still pending.

Persons 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 Attorney Michael Galdo is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.