Two More Plead Guilty To Public Corruption
POSTED: Friday, July 13, 2012 - 10:09pm
UPDATED: Saturday, July 14, 2012 - 7:05pm
EL PASO — The Borderland corruption sweep nailed two more people on Friday. Former Ysleta School Board Trustee Linda Chavez and Access Healthsource employee Marc Schwartz stood before a federal judge pleading guilty to mail fraud, racketeering, and other charges.
Schwartz and Chavez are just two of the 11 people named in the indictment, and in court we heard how both of them tried to cover up their illegal activity.
The U.S. Government says it started wire-tapping phone conversations between Schwartz and his alleged co-conspirators nearly seven years ago.
The government says that Schwartz, bribed school board members from EPISD, YISD and Socorro ISD, paying them cash and other incentives.
Linda Chavez was a board trustee for YISD when Schwartz recruited her in their scheme, allegedly with the help of his boss, Frank Apodaca.
Chavez says that she allowed emails to reach YISD's superintendent, pressuring him to put Access Healthsource in front of Ysleta’s board as a candidate to provide medical insurance, even though the board had already voted 7-0 to award the contract to Blue Cross/ Blue Shield.
The board eventually contracted with Access.
The FBI says that they intercepted a phone conversation between Schwartz and his boss where Schwartz said... "... we just nuked everybody."
Schwartz then reached out to then El Paso County Commissioner Betty Flores. Schwartz admits paying her money to secure her vote in commissioner's court for Access to provide health insurance for the county.
The government says Schwartz didn't write her a check himself because he didn't want to get caught, so he reached out to other Access employees.
In a phone conversation Schwartz said, "I can't find anyone to write her a check."
Schwartz was also heard offering Flores two tickets to a Sunbowl football game, valued at over one thousand dollars.
The U.S attorney said in court that, “ The FBI followed Schwartz and watched him put the tickets in her mailbox."
Schwartz also pleaded guilty to giving former County Commissioner Larry Medina money for his campaign, to secure his vote also.
The U.S government says Medina was heard telling Schwarts, "I need a lot of money." $10,000 dollars to be exact according to federal investigators.
Former Socorro Mayor Ray Rodriguez was also supposed to appear in front of the judge on Friday, but that didn't happen.
According to federal investigators, Rodriguez was also heard on a wiretap, telling Schwartz that he would lie and say the two had never spoken, if asked about being paid for votes.