Former Maverick County Commissioner Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison in Connection with a Bribery, Kickback and Bid-Rigging Scheme
In Del Rio today, former Maverick County Precinct 4 Commissioner Cesar Flores was sentenced to ten years in federal prison for his role 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.
In addition to the prison term, United States District Judge Alia Moses ordered that Flores be placed on supervised release for a period of three years and complete 1,500 hours of community service after completing his prison term. Judge Moses also ordered Flores to pay a maximum $546,170.81 restitution to Maverick County.
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 Eagle Pass contractors, including Javier Gonzales, Hipolito Amaya and Roberto Lopez Macias, were awarded construction contracts in Maverick County Precinct 4 in 2010 and in 2011.
“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.
Authorities are still looking for two defendants in this case: San Antonio businessman German Garcia Cano and 47–year-old Eagle Pass businessman Alejandro Wheeler. Cano, 55-year-old owner of GGC Enterprises (GGC), failed to appear for sentencing yesterday. Wheeler, owner and operator of TVAW Ch. 20, a now defunct media outlet based in Eagle Pass, has been a fugitive since being indicted by a federal grand jury in November 2013.
In October 2014, Cano pleaded guilty to one count of paying a bribe. According to court records, Maverick County paid GGC hundreds of thousands of dollars between 2009 and 2012 for leasing heavy equipment used in construction projects throughout the 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.
Wheeler is charged with one count of aiding and abetting paying a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds and one count of aiding and abetting theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. According to authorities, in 2010 and 2011, Wheeler allegedly assisted in paying bribes in the form of cash payments as well as discounted campaign advertising and media time to Maverick County commissioners on behalf of contractors looking to secure County construction contracts.
Arrest warrants have been issued for both Cano and Wheeler. Individuals with information as to their whereabouts or first-hand information about corruption, fraud, or bribery related to Maverick County are urged to contact the FBI at (210) 225-6741.
To date, seventeen (17) individuals have been convicted and sentenced in connection with this investigation.
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. Assistant United States Attorneys Bryan N. Reeves, Michael Galdo and Katie Griffin prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.