Sentences Handed Down To L.K.G. Enterprises, Inc. And Former President Sonny Garcia In El Paso Corruption Investigation
In El Paso this morning, former L.K.G. Enterprises, Inc., (LKG) president Ruben “Sonny” Garcia, Jr., was sentenced to four years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiring to embezzle federal program funds announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Mark Morgan.
United States District Judge Frank Montalvo also sentenced LKG to five years probation during which time the corporation is prohibited from receiving any government contract. Judge Montalvo also ordered Garcia and LKG to jointly and severally pay $1.1 million restitution--$550,000 each to El Paso County and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Finally, Judge Montalvo ordered that Garcia surrender by May 7, 2013, to federal authorities to begin serving his prison term.
In July 2012, Garcia and LKG pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit theft or embezzlement of federal program funds. By pleading guilty, Garcia admitted that he conspired with his co-defendant in this case, former Aliviane Chief Executive Officer Cirilo “Chilo” Lara Madrid, to pay a total of $24,000 in bribes to former El Paso County Judge Dolores Briones for her help and assistance to LKG with an El Paso County contract it was awarded to evaluate a health program for severely mentally handicapped and emotionally disturbed children in El Paso County. The program, Border Childrens’ Mental Health Collaborative (BCMHC), was funded by a 5-year federal grant valued at over $9 million. Garcia also admitted that from January 2006 until November 2006, LKG failed to provide (BCMHC) $50,000 in monthly donated services towards the efforts of the BCMHC as promised and required under the grant.
“It’s always an outrage when individuals seek to corrupt public officials for personal gain, but this case is particularly galling in that the intended beneficiaries of the program that was the subject of the crime were mentally and emotionally challenged children,” stated U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman. “An important element of criminal punishment is that of shaming, and it is my hope that this sentence sends a clear message that the perpetrators of this sort of crime are in fact victimizing real people, not just some abstract public trust.”
In December, a jury convicted Madrid of one count of conspiracy to steal or embezzle federal program funds, one substantive count of theft of embezzlement of federal program funds and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and the deprivation of honest services. Madrid faces up to five years in federal prison on the embezzlement conspiracy charge; up to ten years in federal prison on the substantive embezzlement charge; and, up to 20 years in federal prison on the mail fraud conspiracy charge. His sentencing date is April 15, 2013.
“Any act of corruption cuts to the core of our justice system but nothing shatter’s the public’s confidence more than the actions of Garcia – a man who put his personal greed in front of those who needed the most – our children,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Mark Morgan, El Paso Division.
This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Juanita Fielden and William F. Lewis, Jr., are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.