Friday, May 30, 2008

"Bribes in exchange for contracts."

Former TxDOT officials plead guilty to taking bribes

May 30, 2008

AP, The Brownsville Herald
Copyright 2008

McALLEN - Three former Texas Department of Transportation employees pleaded guilty Friday to accepting bribes in exchange for contracts, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

The former district maintenance administrator for TxDOT and the two inspectors pleaded guilty Friday morning to accepting bribes from an undercover agent in amounts ranging from $200 to $2,000 to award a "sweeping contract" worth more than $5,000.

Cresenciano Falcon, 56, Ray Llanes, 50, and Noe Beltran, 42, each face up to 10 years in prison and as much as a $250,000 fine for their parts in the scheme, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office. The three accepted the bribes in exchange for awarding a contract to help clean the highways.

A TxDOT representative said the contracts are important to keeping the roadways safe for motorists.

"Anytime there are allegations of wrongdoing with any of our employees, it's a sad time for our department," TxDOT spokesman Chris Lippincott said. "We are doing everything we can to cooperate with authorities and remain committed to integrity."

Few details of the alleged operation have been made public. The U.S. attorney's office did not return a call Friday seeking comment.

Falcon declined to comment when reached by phone Friday afternoon, and his attorney Ricardo Salinas did not return a call seeking comment. Efforts to reach Beltran and Llanes were unsuccessful.

© 2008 The Brownsville Herald:

To search TTC News Archives click HERE

To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE