Two South Texas School Board Members and Middleman Plead Guilty to Attempted Extortion
Two elected members of the School Board of Donna, Texas, pleaded guilty today in the Southern District of Texas for accepting bribes in connection with a services contract held by the Donna Independent School District (DISD). A private citizen who served as a middleman in the scheme also pleaded guilty, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas.
Eloy Infante, 54; Elpidio Yanez Jr., 45; and Adrian Guerrero, 50, all from Donna, pleaded guilty today to attempted interference with commerce by extortion. Infante and Yanez are both members of the Donna School Board and Guerrero is a private citizen. Sentencing is set for March 22, 2016.
In connection with their pleas, the defendants admitted that from February to May 2015, they attempted to extort, and solicited and accepted bribes from, an individual whose company provided services to the DISD. Specifically, the defendants informed the individual that in order for his company to keep its services contract with the DISD, he needed to pay Infante and Yanez $10,000 each. Both Infante and Yanez admitted that they accepted partial payment of the bribes, and Guerrero admitted that he served as the middleman for one of the payments.
The FBI investigated this case. Trial Attorney Monique Abrishami of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo J. Leo III of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case.