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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Another charged in association with city of Weslaco scam

McALLEN, Texas – A 56-year-old McAllen man has been arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Authorities arrested Sunil Wadhwani this morning upon the filing of a criminal complaint yesterday. He is set to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Juan Alanis at 11:00 a.m. today.  

Beginning in at least April 2013, Wadhwani allegedly conspired with others to obtain a development agreement with favorable terms containing $300,000 in incentive agreements from the City of Weslaco Economic Development Corporation. 

According to the criminal complaint, Wadhwani and Person A met with and engaged in e-mail communications with Person B and Person C in order devise a scheme to funnel thousands of dollars in funds to Person B, Person C and Commissioner A, who was a sitting Weslaco city commissioner and Economic Development Corporation Board member. According to the charges, the bribes were paid in order to ensure the commissioner’s votes before the Economic Development Corporation and the City Commission in obtaining the development agreement and its favorable terms.

In order to conceal the nature and source of the bribe payments, Wadhwani and others allegedly drafted and circulated a fictitious consulting agreement between a business entity he owned and another that Person C owned. According to the complaint, Wadhwani and the city commissioner visited a former Weslaco Economic Development Corporation executive director regarding the incentive agreement. That director allegedly felt pressured.

The charges further allege Person B and that city commissioner helped push the requests through the Weslaco Economic Development Corporation. It eventually granted a $300,000 incentive agreement the City of Weslaco approved to be paid in two equal $150,000 installments, according to the charges.   

The final installment was allegedly deposited into a bank account for which Wadhwani  was an authorized signer Nov. 3, 2014.

The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Roberto Lopez is prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Public Corruption
Component(s): 
Updated October 9, 2019