Former Housing Authority Executive Director Sent to Prison
McALLEN, Texas ‐ The former director of the La Joya Housing Authority and another man have been ordered to federal prison for a bid rigging scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Juan Jose Garza, 50, of La Joya, and Mexican national Armando Jimenez, 53, pleaded guilty to wire fraud May 3, 2017.
Today, U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa ordered Garza to serve 37 months in prison, while Jimenez received an 18-month-prison term. In imposing the sentence, the court ruled Garza abused his position of trust to facilitate the wire fraud scheme, commenting that “the public trusts people in public office to do the right thing.” Judge Hinojosa further noted in regard to Garza “that trust was broken.” Garza will also serve two years of supervised release. Not a U.S. citizen, Jimenez is expected to face deportation proceedings following his sentence.
From 1999 through 2016, Garza was the executive director of the La Joya Housing Authority. From July 2013 through March 2013, Garza and Jimenez engaged in bid rigging for construction contracts with the Alamo and Donna Housing Authorities. They submitted false bids to guarantee Jimenez Construction would be the low bidder and then awarded construction projects. Jimenez then falsely submitted invoices for work he claimed his construction company did, but that had been completed by subcontractors working for Garza.
Garza and Jimenez were permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development - Office of Inspector General and the FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Rees prosecuted the case.