Two Presidio County Officials Arrested on Federal Bribery Related Charges
In Midland today, FBI agents arrested 55–year-old Lorenzo Padilla Hernandez, Presidio County Precinct 3 Commissioner, and 65-year-old Carlos Eduardo Nieto, Special Projects Coordinator for the City of Presidio and Presidio Independent School District trustee, on federal bribery, fraud, and deprivation of honest services charges announced United States Attorney Richard Durbin, Jr., and FBI Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie, Jr., El Paso Division.
A six-count federal grand jury indictment, unsealed today, charges Hernandez with two counts of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds; conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud; and, two counts of wire fraud and the deprivation of honest services. The indictment charges Nieto with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of mail fraud and the deprivation of honest services.
The indictment alleges that since August 2015, the defendants conspired to defraud Presidio County and its citizens of money by corruptly ensuring, through their positions and influence, that a particular company would be awarded a County contract for a document management system. The indictment further alleges that Hernandez and Nieto solicited and received $19,800 and $8,300, respectively, for their efforts. On May 9, 2017, Hernandez voted to award the contract to that particular company.
All of the charges, with the exception of the bribery charges, call for up to 20 years in federal prison upon conviction. Each bribery charge calls for up to ten years in federal prison upon conviction.
Both defendants remain in federal custody. Initial appearances before United States Magistrate Judge David Counts are scheduled for tomorrow at 10:30am in Midland. No other court dates are scheduled.
“The individuals charged hold positions of public trust and will be held accountable. The FBI is committed to aggressively investigating allegations of public corruption and, where warranted, seeking appropriate federal charges,” stated Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the El Paso Division of the FBI.
The FBI with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division is investigating this case. Individuals who have first-hand information about corruption, fraud, or bribery related to Presidio County are urged to contact the FBI at (915) 835-5000. Assistant United States Attorneys James J. Miller, Jr., and William F. Lewis are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.
An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.