EL PASO, Texas - Former El Paso County Judge Anthony Cobos has pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy to commit mail fraud and the deprivation of honest services.
He made the plea on Tuesday according to court records.
Cobos was accused of receiving $4,500 in bribes from lobbyists in exchange for his vote as the head of the El Paso Commissioners Court.
Lorenzo Aguilar is accused of facilitating one of the exchanges. Businessmen Bobby Ruiz, Chris Pak and Raymond Telles have pleaded guilty to their part in the alleged scheme.
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. This time, prosecutors added more details of the crimes alleged.
According to the latest indictment, Cobos and Aguilar were tangled in a scheme to provide the county's financial services contracts to men who bribed Cobos.
The indictment identifies the co-conspirators by initials, which match the names of five men who pleaded guilty to public corruption in 2007 and 2008.
T.K, Travis Ketner, former, Cobos' chief of staff
R.R, Robert (bobby) Ruiz, representative for Bear Sterns
C.P, Chris Chol Su Pak, representative for Bear Sterns
R.T., Raymond Telles, lobbyist
A.D., Antonio Dill, businessman
Prosecutors allege Ruiz, Pak and Telles wanted to get control of the El Paso County's 2007 Bond Refinance project and the financial advisor contract.
The indictment implies Ruiz wanted to reach Cobos, so he gave Aguilar $1,500 for Dill, who would in turn, arrange a meeting with Cobos. During that and other meetings, prosecutors allege Cobos agreed to help Ruiz take over the County contracts
Cobos placed the items on the agenda and voted to approve both contracts, prosecutors wrote.
According to the indictment, Cobos received at least one cash bribe. They also say Dill received $4,500 via FedEx in bribes meant for Cobos.
HOW MONEY MOVED ONCE:
Bobby Ruiz (source of money) --> Lorenzo Aguilar --> Antonio Dill (recipient): for initial introduction to Anthony Cobos.
MONEY FEDEXd THREE TIMES:
Bobby Ruiz (source of money) --> Raymond Telles --> Antonio Dill --> Cobos
Bobby Ruiz and Raymond Telles (source of money) --> Cobos
In March, Cobos' predecessor, ex-County Judge Dolores Briones, was sentenced to 30 months in jail and $36,000 in restitution for her role in a public corruption scheme.
Briones' Commissioners Court hired LKG, run by Ruben "Sonny" Garcia, to evaluate how the Border Children's Mental Health Collaboration used grant money.
The FBI said Garcia and Madrid billed the county for more than $500,000 dollars worth of work that was never done.