Former University at San Antonio Projects Manager Indicted by Federal Grand Jury in Connection with an Alleged Bribery Scheme

August 26, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 23, 2013 released the following:

“A federal grand jury in San Antonio this week returned a bribery indictment against 41–year-old James Paul Council, a former project manager in the Facilities Department at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and three other San Antonio area residents in connection with a bribery scheme announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Armando Fernandez. As of today, all four defendants have surrendered to federal authorities.

The 17-count indictment charges Council; 47-year-old Alfredo Romero Gonzalez, owner of Power Source Electric, an electrical construction and repair business in San Antonio; 60-year-old Power Source Electric chief estimator and project manager Magin Villalon (a.k.a. “Buddy”); and Villalon’s wife, 56-year-old Sarah Anne Luna, with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and four counts of mail fraud. Council is also charged with six counts of receiving a bribe; the other defendants, six counts of paying a bribe.

According to the indictment, from approximately August 2011 through September 2012, the defendants allegedly conducted a scheme to bribe a purchasing officer in order to secure UTSA construction contracts. The indictment further alleges that the defendants colluded in the submission of fraudulent, inflated bids to UTSA under the names of sham companies, GNZ Enterprise LLC and Vista Contracting, and fixed at least 40 UTSA contracts. Authorities estimate the submitted bids totaled more than $200,000. Furthermore, the indictment alleges that Council received cash, as well as improvements to his residence for his role in the scheme.

Upon conviction, the defendants face up to five years’ imprisonment on the conspiracy count, up to 10 years’ imprisonment for each bribery related count, and up to 20 years in federal prison for each mail fraud count. All four defendants are on bond pending further court proceedings.

This indictment resulted from an investigation conducted by the agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, together with the San Antonio Police Department and the University of Texas at San Antonio Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney James Blankinship is 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.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


FBI looks into San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) Funds

October 17, 2011

My San Antonio on October 15, 2011 released the following:

Money allegedly was steered away from district.
By Lindsay Kastner

A federal investigation is under way into the San Antonio Independent School District, where this week two top employees resigned amid allegations they steered about $800,000 in federal money to businesses owned by family and friends.

Eduardo Elizondo and Tony Mayhan together allegedly guided more than $300,000 to companies owned by their wives, and Mayhan also apparently steered other maintenance and cleaning jobs to other individuals.

“The FBI confirms that we are conducting an inquiry into the allegations of misappropriations of grant moneys,” special agent Erik Vasys said Friday.

He declined to say whether the federal probe is related to Elizondo and Mayhan, but did say the department is working in conjunction with the Texas Education Agency.

On Monday the district announced the results of its internal investigation into Elizondo and Mayhan. The pair, who worked in the department of federal programs, spent at least three years funneling federal money to their wives’ companies and others using what SAISD Superintendent Robert Durón described as a “well calculated” scheme.

SAISD attorney Pablo Escamilla said Friday that multiple laws might have been broken.

“The possibility of a conflict of interest, the violation of bidding laws — both state and federal — those are the two obvious ones,” he said.

SAISD spokeswoman Leslie Price said district officials were unaware of an FBI investigation.

“We haven’t been informed of that, but we have been working closely with TEA,” she said.

The district requested an audit by TEA and help to establish which vendor payments were legitimate and in which instances, if any, the district might have to return federal funds.

“We’ve been working and communicating with the TEA, and they’ve been determining the next steps,” Price said.

SAISD sent the agency a copy of its preliminary audit, TEA spokeswoman Debbie Graves Ratcliffe said.

“We’re not actually doing an audit at this point,” she said. “The district has their internal auditor looking into it at this point. … And we’ll wait until we get their final report before we decide what to do.””

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.