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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANGELA DODGE

June 8, 2010

PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
(713) 567-9388

FORMER FALCON DAM EMPLOYEES PLEAD GUILTY TO THEFT OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY

(McALLEN, Texas) – Two former employees of the United States International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) at Falcon Dam Power Plant Project have pleaded guilty to theft with the use of the government issued credit card, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Silverio Garza Jr., 59, the former area operations manager, and Joel Garza, 40, the former superintendent, both with IBWC at the Falcon Dam and Power Plant Project in Falcon Heights, Texas, pleaded guilty to the theft charge today before Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa. The men are not related.

According to pleadings filed in the case, a government International Merchant Purchase Authorization Credit (IMPAC) card issued to Garza as the power plant superintendent for the IBWC in Falcon Heights, Texas, was to be used to make authorized purchases up to $3,000 for use at the plant. However, as a result of an asset audit and the receipt of a complaint regarding the misuse of the IMPAC card, a U.S. Department of State Office of Inspector General investigation initiated in August 2009. That investigation found that from May 2007 to Aug. 15, 2009, Garza had used the government issued credit card to make purchases of assorted items - a tractor tire, tool boxes, floor plates, batteries, lights, flat iron, round bar, square tubing, uniforms, cell phones and a laptop computer totaling approximately $6,300 in value, which both Garza and Garza Jr. converted for their own personal use.  

Garza and Garza Jr. each face a maximum 10-year sentence and a fine not to exceed $250,000. Chief Judge Hinojosa has set sentencing for Sept. 3, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. Both men have been permitted to remain on bond pending sentencing.

Assistant United States Attorney Juan Villescas is prosecuting the case.

    

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