Ex-Weslaco City Commissioner Gets 30-Month Sentence in Bribery Case

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Discover the sentencing of a former Weslaco city commissioner involved in a multimillion-dollar bribery conspiracy. Details on convictions and investigations.

Bribery Conspiracy Details

Gerardo Tafolla, a former Weslaco city commissioner, has been sentenced to 30 months for his involvement in a bribery conspiracy linked to city contracts valued at tens of millions of dollars. The case, announced by U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani, involves illicit activities implicating various officials.

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The Bribery Scheme Unveiled

Tafolla and another former city commissioner, John F. Cuellar, were found guilty of accepting bribes from individuals seeking contracts with the city. These bribes, facilitated by Arturo C. Cuellar Jr. and Ricardo Quintanilla, amounted to millions, leading to favorable actions benefitting engineering companies in securing lucrative contracts.

During the scheme’s duration from 2008 to 2015, large sums exchanged hands among participants. John Cuellar was involved in actions favoring these companies, leading to contracts worth over $38.5 million for the city’s water treatment facilities.

Ricardo Quintanilla’s involvement included receiving bribes and further channeling funds to Tafolla for official actions benefiting companies involved in water treatment plant contracts.

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Legal Actions and Sentencing

Several convictions resulted from the investigations. Arturo Cuellar and Quintanilla received lengthy prison sentences for their roles. John Cuellar had previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years. Tafolla had admitted guilt in 2019 to federal program bribery, leading to his recent sentencing.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, and Special Agent in Charge Ramsey E. Covington of the IRS Criminal Investigation Houston Field Office jointly announced the case’s developments, highlighting the collaborative investigation by FBI and IRS officials.

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