Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Former judge sentenced to prison for federal bribery charges

Former Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo admitted to accepting bribes along with a Texas politician in exchange for securing lucrative government contracts.

Image Credit: Bob Owen, Staff/San Antonio Express-News

A former county judge who pled guilty to federal bribery and income tax related charges was recently sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. Former Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo admitted to accepting bribes along with a Texas politician in exchange for securing lucrative government contracts.

Serving as County Judge for Reeves County from January 1995 through December 2006, Galindo negotiated a contract with a company owned by Lubbock businessman Vernon “Trey” Farthing III in 2006 to provide medical services to federal immigrant prisoners at the Reeves County Correctional Center in Pecos. Galindo later testified that he advised Farthing to raise the price that his Physician Network Association would charge the county per inmate, per day, to pay for the consulting arrangement.

From January 2007 until September 30, 2016, Farthing agreed to hire former District 19 Texas State Senator Carlos Uresti as a “consultant” and pay him approximately $10,000 a month. Uresti, in turn, agreed to pay Galindo half of the money that he received from Farthing’s company for nearly ten years.

The Information also alleges that Galindo failed to file individual income tax returns for the years 2004 to the present.

In June 2017, Galindo pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of failure to file income tax returns. In October 2018, Uresti pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery for paying off Galindo in exchange for the judge’s support of the Reeves County Correctional Center contract.

Last year, a federal judge acquitted Farthing of charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to commit money laundering, despite Galindo and Uresti’s guilty pleas.

On February 12, Uresti was sentenced to five years in prison for the bribery case, and had previously been sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for his role in an investment Ponzi scheme centered on a company which purportedly bought and sold fracking sand for oil production, FourWinds, Inc.

“I deeply regret the choices that I made,” Galindo told the judge Tuesday. “I know that the rest of my life will be difficult, but I ask your consideration of allowing me to continue to provide to my family. I sincerely and deeply apologize to Reeves County, to this court, and to my family.”

“Mr. Galindo was the public official, who was voting on (the contract),” Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Blackwell told the judge. “He was the one who initiated this bribery scheme. The idea of increasing contracts to funnel the money through Mr. Uresti originated from Mr. Galindo, who saw an opportunity for private gain. It can’t be tolerated when a public official uses his position for their own private gain.”

Galindo was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $876,000 restitution. Following his release, the former judge will be placed on supervised release for a period of three years.

He is scheduled to return to court in May to be taken to prison.

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