Dec. 3, 2009
FALCON DAM EMPLOYEES ARRESTED FOR EMBEZZLEMENT
(McALLEN, Texas) – A federal grand jury has indicted Silverio Garza Jr., former Falcon Dam and Power Plant Area Operations Manager, and Joel Garza, Falcon Dam Power Plant Superintendent, on charges of embezzlement, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. The three-count indictment was returned under seal on Dec. 1, 2009, and unsealed today following the arrest of Joel Garza.
Silverio Garza Jr., 59, was arrested on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009, in Rio Grande City, Texas. He appeared the same day before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Ormsby and remains in federal custody without bond pending a bond hearing on Friday, Dec. 4, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. Joel Garza, 40, of Falcon Heights, Texas, (no relation to Silverio Garza Jr.) was arrested in McAllen, Texas, this morning and is expected to appear before Judge Ormsby today.
The indictment alleges that beginning in 2007 and continuing through Aug. 15, 2009, both men conspired to execute a scheme to embezzle, steal and convert to their own use property of the United States government. A government International Merchant Purchase Authorization Credit (IMPAC) card was issued to Joel Garza as the power plant superintendent for the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) in Falcon Heights, Texas. The IMPAC card was to be used to make authorized purchases up to $3,000. According the indictment, Joel Garza and Silverio Garza Jr. conspired to and did use the IMPAC card, without authorization, to make purchases of items for both Joel and Silverio Garza’s personal use.
The second count of the indictment alleges that Silverio Garza Jr., while an IBWC employee, converted to his own use property of the United States, that is, employee services valued at approximately $3,000, by having government employees improve personal property and equipment belonging to Garza Jr. The third count of the indictment alleges Silverio Garza Jr. embezzled, stole and converted to his own use specific items of property belonging to the United States government with a total value of approximately $7,000 including but not limited to a tractor tire, tool boxes, floor plates, tubing, piping, PVC piping, batteries, utility boxes and a boom for lifting.
Garza Jr. and Garza each face a sentence of up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, if convicted of the conspiracy count. Garza Jr. faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine if convicted of either count two or three.
The investigation leading to the charges in this case was conducted by the U.S. Department State - Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations initiated in July 2009 as a result of an asset audit and the receipt of an anonymous complaint regarding the misuse of the IMPAC card. Assistant United States Attorney Juan Villescas is prosecuting the case.
An Indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.
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