Eight More Sentenced to Federal Prison in Connection with a Maverick County Bribery, Kickback and Bid-Rigging Scheme
In Del Rio today, one former Maverick County commissioner, three former Maverick County employees and four Eagle Pass businessmen were sentenced for their roles in a bribery, kickback and bid-rigging scheme that caused Maverick County to lose more than $1.3 million announced Acting United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.
“The corruption in the cases sentenced this week works like a cancer on the body politic, eating away public confidence in local government. We will make every effort to counter its effects and hold accountable those who abuse the public trust for their personal gain,” stated Acting United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr.
“These defendants created a culture of corruption that spread throughout Maverick County, enabling theft and waste to thrive while taxpayers and honest businesses suffered,” stated FBI SAC Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.
United States District Judge Alia Moses sentenced:
- former Maverick County Precinct 1 Commissioner Eliaz Maldonado, age 54, to ten years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and to perform 1,200 hours of Community Service after completing his prison term. Maldonado was also ordered to pay a maximum $173,128.59 in restitution to the County. On May 2, 2013, Maldonado pleaded guilty to one count of receiving a bribe by an agent of an organization receiving federal funds. By pleading guilty, Maldonado admitted that in 2010 and 2011, he manipulated the bidding process to guarantee that contractors he chose would be awarded County construction contracts. Furthermore, Maldonado admitted that he instructed the private contractors to submit inflated bids to the County in order to ensure the availability of sufficient funds to perform the construction work, make a profit, and also to pay him bribes.
- former Maverick County Precinct 1 foreman Eduardo Rene Rodriguez, age 43, to 97 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for receiving a bribe and to perform 1,200 hours of Community Service after completing his prison term. Rodriguez was also ordered to pay a maximum $26,535.72 in restitution to the County. In January 2013, the liaison between the County and private contractors hired to perform work for the County pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe. By pleading guilty, Rodriguez admitted that in 2010 and 2011, while on pretrial release for unrelated federal firearms charges, he accepted bribes totaling approximately $12,000 from contractors looking to secure County construction contracts. In 2011, Rodriguez was sentenced by Judge Moses to 21 months in federal prison and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine for conspiring to provide a false statement during the purchase of a firearm.
- former Maverick County Precinct 1 foreman Jaime Flores (Eduardo Rodriguez’s replacement), age 35, and 39-year-old Eagle Pass businessman Joe M. Rodriguez, to 72 months and 42 months in federal prison, respectively, followed by three years of supervised release for their roles in a scheme to steal County property. In addition to the prison terms, Flores and Rodriguez were also ordered to pay, jointly and severally, $32,070.00 in restitution to the County. Flores was also ordered to perform 500 hours of Community Service after completing his prison term. Flores and Rodriguez previously pleaded guilty to one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. By pleading guilty, the defendants admitted that they stole County funds for a 15,000 pound capacity forklift that was never purchased. Court records also revealed that Jaime Flores transported numerous bribe payments on behalf of contractors to former Precinct 1 Commissioner Eliaz Maldonado. Following sentencing, Judge Moses remanded Rodriguez into the custody of the United States Marshals Service to begin serving his prison term.
- former Solid Waste Authority general manager and chief executive officer of the Maverick County landfill Hector Daniel Chavez, Jr., age 42, to 65 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and to perform 800 hours of Community Service after completing his prison term. Chavez was also ordered to pay a maximum $201,057.71 restitution to the County. Chavez had previously pleaded guilty to one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. Chavez admitted that from March 9, 2012, to December 28, 2012, he pocketed over $62,000 in forged Maverick County checks he drafted himself. Court records also revealed that Chavez created a construction company for the purpose of participating in the bribery scheme. Chavez also transported bribes from another contractor to former Precinct 2 Commissioner Rodolfo Heredia in furtherance of the scheme.
- Eagle Pass contractors Javier Gonzalez, age 44, and Eduardo De la Garza, age 46, to 112 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to perform 800 hours of Community Service after completing their prison terms. In 2013, both Gonzalez and De la Garza pleaded guilty to one count of paying a bribe. Gonzalez, a former Maverick County juvenile probation officer, admittedly paid bribes ranging between $2,000 and $5,000 to multiple commissioners in return for over $400,000 in Maverick County contracts. He was also ordered to pay a maximum $156,337.29 in restitution to the County. De la Garza, who admittedly paid bribes ranging from $1,500 to $8,000 to multiple commissioners in return for over $800,000 in Maverick County contracts, was also ordered to pay a maximum $264,246.51 in restitution.
- Jose Telles, Jr., 46-year-old owner of 4x4 Construction, to ten years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. Telles was also ordered to pay $8,628.58 restitution to Maverick County and perform 1,200 hours of Community Service after completing his prison term. On June 4, 2013, Telles pleaded guilty to one count of paying a bribe. By pleading guilty, Telles admitted that in 2010, he paid a $5,000 bribe to Maverick County Precinct 1 commissioner Eliaz Maldonado to secure a $30,200 County contract to construct inlets and junction boxes on Juan and Laura Streets in Precinct 1.
Judge Moses also continued bond conditions for Eliaz Maldonado, Javier Gonzales, Eduardo De la Garza and Jose Telles until the defendants are instructed by federal authorities as when and where to report to begin serving their prison terms. Jaime Flores, Eduardo Rodriguez and Hector Chavez were already in custody prior to today.
San Antonio businessman German Garcia Cano, 55-year-old owner of GGC Enterprises (GGC), failed to appear for today’s scheduled sentencing. A bench warrant has been issued for his arrest. In October 2014, Cano pleaded guilty to one count of paying a bribe. According to the court records, Maverick County paid GGC hundreds of thousands of dollars between 2009 and 2012 for leasing heavy equipment used in construction projects in Maverick County. Cano admitted to paying bribes to two Maverick County employees to ensure that GGC secured those leasing contracts with Maverick County and to receive his checks from the county.
To date, sixteen (16) individuals have been convicted and sentenced in connection with this investigation.
Former Maverick County Precinct 4 commissioner Cesar Flores is scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow afternoon in federal court in Del Rio. On September 5, 2013, Flores pleaded guilty to one count of receiving a bribe. By pleading guilty, Flores admitted that he agreed to be influenced and rewarded for using his position to ensure that certain contractors were awarded construction contracts in Maverick County Precinct 4 in 2010 and in 2011.
This case is part of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from Customs and Border Protection Office of Internal Affairs, Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigative Division, Texas Rangers, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Eagle Pass ISD Police Department. Individuals who have first-hand information about corruption, fraud, or bribery related to Maverick County are urged to contact the FBI at (210) 225-6741. Assistant United States Attorneys Bryan N. Reeves, Michael Galdo and Katie Griffin prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.