Former Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos faces federal prison time after a jury in Brownsville convicted him of federal charges related to a bribery and extortion scheme in South Texas announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Armando Fernandez, San Antonio Division.
Late Friday evening, jurors convicted Villalobos of one count of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, one count of conspiracy to violate the RICO Act and five counts of extortion. Jurors acquitted Villalobos of two counts of extortion.
Evidence presented at trial revealed that from October 2, 2006, through May 3, 2012, Villalobos and others were involved in a scheme to illegally generate income for themselves and others through a pattern of bribery and extortion, favoritism, improper influence, personal self-enrichment, self-dealing, concealment and conflict of interest. Jurors found that Villalobos solicited and accepted over $100,000 in bribes and kickbacks in the form of cash and campaign contributions from South Texas attorney and co-defendant Eduardo “Eddie” Lucio and others in return for favorable acts of prosecutorial discretion, including minimizing charging decisions, pretrial diversion agreements, agreements on probationary matters and case dismissals. Furthermore, Villalobos solicited and arranged for private counsel, including Lucio, to handle civil and forfeiture matters associated with criminal matters pending in the Office of the District and County Attorney of Cameron County.
Villalobos, who remains on bond, faces up to 20 years in federal prison per count at sentencing scheduled for 8:30am on August 26, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville.
Eduardo Lucio remains under indictment charged with one count of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, one count of conspiracy to violate the RICO Act and three counts of extortion. He is currently on bond awaiting a trial date.
This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Brownsville Police Department. Southern District of Texas Assistant United States Attorney Michael Wynne and Western District of Texas Assistant United States Attorney Greg Surovic are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.