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July 19, 2011

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Wife of Probationer Pleads Guilty to Role in Bribe of Former Judge Limas

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – The wife of a probationer who was involved in the $1500 payment to former state District Judge Abel Limas to permit her husband to report to state probation officials by mail rather than in person has pleaded guilty, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Karina Pena, 29, of Corpus Christi, Texas, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting honest services wire fraud by former state Judge Abel Corral Limas, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343, 1346, and 2 before U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen today. Pena admitted her involvement in the April 2008 wire transfer of $1,800 from Hot Springs, Ark., to Harlingen, Texas. Of that sum, $1,500 was paid to then Judge Limas, allegedly through middleman, Jose Manuel “Meme” Longoria, in exchange for Limas’s order allowing her husband, Armando Pena, 30, to report to the state probation office by mail rather than in person. Per pleadings filed in court today, Judge Limas contacted the probation office on April 23, 2008, instructing said office to allow Armando Pena, who had left Texas without permission to work in Arkansas, to report by mail. Judge Limas entered a written order on May 13, 2008, modifying Armando Pena’s reporting condition.

Judge Andrew Hanen has set sentencing for Oct. 24, 2011. Pena faces a maximum prison term of 20 years, a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release of up to five years. Pena has been permitted to remain on bond pending sentencing.

The charges against Karina Pena are the result of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Brownsville Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Wynne and Oscar Ponce are prosecuting the case.