McALLEN, Texas – A La Joya Housing Authority Board member has been arrested on charges of federal program bribery regarding a city public relations contract, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Sylvia Garces Valdez was taken into custody yesterday after which she made her initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Ormsby. She is set for trial Oct. 8, 2019.
According to the indictment, from June to approximately November 2018, Valdez agreed to give more than $5,000 to someone with the intent to influence an elected official for the City of La Joya. The purpose of the alleged bribe was for their influence in granting a public relations contract to Valdez.
If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in federal prison. The government is also seeking forfeiture of $10,000.
The FBI and Department of Housing and Urban Development—Office of the Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarina S. DiPiazza and Roberto Lopez Jr. are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.