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Saturday, June 15, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Lawyer’s Bribery Crime Reversed After Suicide

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (CN) - A federal judge vacated the conviction of an attorney who killed himself after he was found guilty of bribing a judge for favorable rulings and appointments.

Ray Marchan, 56, was sentenced to 42 months in federal prison on one count of racketeering, one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering, three counts of interference with commerce under color of official right and one count of mail fraud on Jan. 22, 2013.

After Marchan's body was found in Laguna Madre on Feb. 28, the day he was set to report to federal prison, investigators concluded that the lawyer had jumped to his death from the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway, the Associated Press reported.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hannen vacated the judgment against Marchan on April 2.

During Marchan's trial in June, federal prosecutors presented evidence that he paid bribes and kickbacks to former Judge Abel Limas for favorable rulings, and to be appointed an ad litem attorney on two cases.

Marchan gave Limas two cash payments, totaling $6,200, after he received ad litem fees for one case, prosecutors said.

"Limas testified as to the transactions and that the money was in return for having appointed Marchan as the ad litem attorney," prosecutors said at the time. "He also testified to an earlier incident when he received money from Marchan but he could not recall the specific amount.

In a third incident, Limas received a $5,000 check on June 27, 2008. An FBI agent testified he observed Limas arrive at Marchan's office and only spend approximately five minutes there before leaving.

"Prosecutors presented evidence proving Limas deposited the check shortly thereafter," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office 2012 statement. "Limas acknowledged through his testimony the payment was in return for having Limas deny a motion for sanctions filed against Marchan by opposing counsel."

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