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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Back issues
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2 Years for Bribing|a Texas Judge

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (CN) - A man who admitted he bribed a state judge with $1,800 to let him report to his probation officer by mail from Arkansas was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison.

Armando Pena, 30, of Brownsville was sentenced this week after pleading guilty to wire fraud in July 2011, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Pena is among eight defendants, including his wife Karina, who have pleaded guilty in the FBI's 4-year public corruption probe of former state judge Abel Limas.

Limas and his middleman, Jose "Meme" Longoria, have pleaded guilt, and will be sentenced next Tuesday, prosecutors said.

According to the statement: "Pena had been on state probation for robbery since 2006 and had left Texas without authorization. When state probation officers sought to revoke Pena's probation for the violation, Pena and his wife, Karina, contacted Longoria for assistance.

"Pena aided and abetted in the violation by agreeing to send money to Longoria to pay Limas. On April 23, 2008, Limas called the probation officer and stated he was ordering Pena be allowed to report by mail from Arkansas. Thereafter, Pena electronically wired $1,800 from Hot Springs, Ark., to Longoria's sister-in-law in Harlingen, Texas, on April 25, 2008."

FBI agents tapped phone calls between Pena, his wife, Longoria and Limas, prosecutors said.

"In one call, Longoria informed Karina Pena that Limas was charging $1,500 but he (Longoria) wanted something for himself so he asked for $1,800," prosecutors said in the statement. "Allowing Pena to report by mail then permitted Pena to remain [in Arkansas] without arrest and continue on probation. Longoria later admitted to FBI agents he handed the money to Limas for that judicial order and Limas also admitted to receiving some money from Longoria to issue the order for reporting by mail for Pena."

Other defendants who have pleaded Jose Santiago "Jim" Solis, a former state representative and attorney; Jose "Joe" Valle, an attorney; and Jaime Munivez, a former district attorney's office investigator, prosecutors said.

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