Local Attorney Accused of Bribing Former State District Court Judge for Favorable Rulings
|June 22, 2011|
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A federal grand jury has indicted an attorney for his alleged involvement in the former State Judge Abel Limas’ use of his then state court as a racketeering enterprise, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
The seven-count indictment returned under seal on Tuesday, 21, 2011, was unsealed today at the initial appearance of Ray Roman Marchan, 54, of Port Isabel, Texas, before a U.S. Magistrate Judge. Marchan was arrested this morning by FBI agents at his home and has been ordered released on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond pending trial on the charges. Marchan is a licensed Texas attorney who has practiced law in South Texas for many years with a focus on personal injury cases.
The now unsealed indictment arising from the joint investigative efforts of the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Brownsville Police Department of former 404th Judicial District State Court Judge Abel Corral Limas. Marchan is charged with seven felony counts arising from his alleged involvement with Limas in using the 404th judicial district court as a racketeering enterprise. Marchan is charged with racketeering in aid of a criminal organization (RICO) as well as aiding and abetting extortion, in violation of the “Hobbs Act,” and aiding and abetting a scheme to deprive the citizens of Cameron County of the honest services of an elected official.
According to allegations in the indictment, Marchan paid $5,000 in bribe money to Limas in exchange for favorable rulings in a civil case pending in Limas’s court which he was handling, as well as several payments totaling $6200 in return for an ad litem appointment in a personal injury case. In the Limas indictment unsealed earlier this year, Marchan is allegedly “Person D.”
Marchan faces a maximum prison term of 30 years, a fine of up to $250,000 and a five-year-term of supervised release if convicted of deprivation of honest services count while the RICO violation and the Hobbs Act charges carry a maximum punishment of 20 years incarceration and a $250,000 fine upon conviction.
It is expected that the case will be set for trial later this year before Judge Andrew Hanen.
Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Wynne and Oscar Ponce are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.