El Paso architect Lorenzo Aguilar pleads guilty to public corruption

EL PASO, Texas - Architect Lorenzo Aguilar, charged in connection with a public corruption scheme, has admitted guilt.

He appeared before federal judge Frank Montalvo this morning and pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud and the Deprivation of Honest Services, according to court records.

Aguilar was indicted with former El Paso county judge Anthony Cobos in December of 2011. Cobos pleaded guilty Tuesday.

According to the indictments, Cobos conspired with businessmen Bobby Ruiz, Chris Pak and Antonio Dill to award the county's $40 million financial underwriter contract to Ruiz's company, Bear Stearns. The company was not implicated in the scheme. Lobbyist Raymond Telles then presented the business proposal to county commissioners for their approval in a regular meeting of the court.

The bribes for Cobos, according to the indictment, totaled $4,500.

Prosecutors alleged Ruiz used Aguilar as a middle man to send money to Cobos.

The money would go from Ruiz, to Aguilar, to Telles, then to Dill and finally, the county judge.

Prior to Cobos' and Aguilar's guilty plea, U.S. District Judge Frank Montalvo moved their trial from Aug. 26 to Sept. 9 after prosecutors filed a third amendment to the indictment of Cobos and Aguilar.

The so-called "superceding" indictment was filed in mid-July.

Defense attorneys for Cobos and Aguilar argued earlier this year that the previous indictments were too vague and prevented them from preparing an adequate defense. Prosecutors responded by revealing more details of the crimes alleged.

Aguilar's trial was scheduled for next week.

All defendants have pleaded guilty and have yet to be sentenced.

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