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July 9, 2010

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Court finds Handy obstructed justice, abused her position of trust and occupied a leadership role in  the conspiracy

(McALLEN, Texas) – Former County Commissioner Sylvia Sue Handy-Espronceda, 52, was sentenced to prison, fined and ordered to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Previously convicted of conspiracy to harboring an illegal alien and of making a false statement on her 2005 tax return regarding a child care credit after pleading guilty, Handy was sentenced this afternoon. Finding that Handy had occupied a leadership role in the conspiracy, had abused her position of trust as a County Commissioner for Precinct 1 and obstructed justice, Chief Judge Hinojosa sentenced Handy to 30 months imprisonment, without parole, to be followed by a two-year-term of supervised release, fined her $7,500 and further ordered Handy to pay $3,357 in restitution to the IRS for unlawful tax credits she received.

Handy orchestrated the fraudulent hiring and employment of an illegal alien from Mexico under assumed identities at Precinct 1, in McAllen, Texas, from 2001 to 2007. The illegal alien also provided housekeeping and childcare services to Handy at the county’s expense. Handy also lied on her 2005 tax return when she claimed a childcare credit for monies paid to an individual who had never worked for her and whom she had never paid.

Handy has been ordered to surrender to the federal authorities to begin serving her prison sentence on Aug. 20, 2010.

Two of Handy’s co-defendants, Maria de los Angeles Landa de Hernandez and Eloisa Andrade Uriegas, have also been convicted after pleading guilty are awaiting sentencing. 

This investigation leading to the charges against Handy and her co-defendants was conducted by the FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations and the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel C. Rodriguez and F. Andino Reynal prosecuted the case.


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