Former Weslaco ISD Trustee Convicted of Accepting Bribe for School Renovation Project

A former trustee for the Weslaco Independent School District (WISD) has pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe in exchange for using his official capacity to influence the award of a contract on a school renovation project, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Joe Marines, 55, of Weslaco, Texas, pleaded guilty today to a Hobbs Act violation. Marines admitted that in August 2006, while serving as a trustee for WISD and the district was involved in the bidding process for the renovation of Roosevelt Elementary School, he met with an FBI informant who was soliciting a contract on the project. Marines admitted he received $500 in exchange for Marines exerting his influence as a trustee to award a subcontracting job on the project. Later that same month, the FBI informant paid Marines an additional $1000 for the same purpose.

A conviction for a violation of the Hobbs Act is punishable by no more than 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

U.S. District Judge Nancy F. Atlas, who accepted Marines’ guilty plea and convicted him of the federal felony offense has set the case for sentencing on Sept. 6, 2011. Marines will be permitted to remain on bond pending the sentencing hearing.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney James McAlister is prosecuting the case.