Former Cameron County District Attorney Armando R. Villalobos has been sentenced to 13 years in federal prison for his role in a racketeering scheme involving bribery and extortion, according to the Valley Morning Star:
Villalobos was convicted of favoritism, improper influence, personal self-enrichment, self-dealing, concealment and conflict of interest in the course of activity that prosecutors said took place from October 2006 through May 3, 2012. A jury on May 24, 2013 convicted Villalobos on a count of racketeering, a second count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and five counts of extortion. The jury acquitted him of two counts of extortion. U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen acquitted him on a third count of extortion on Tuesday, leaving standing six convictions.
Following an approximately four-hour proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Brownsville, Hanen also ordered Villalobos to make $339,000 in restitution to Cameron County and to the children of the late Hermila Hernandez, who was killed by murderer Amit M. Livingston, who remains at large.
Hanen also assessed a $5,000 fine on each of the six convictions against Villalobos for a total of $30,000 and also ordered that he be placed under supervised release for three years after completing the prison term.
Shortly before sentencing Villalobos to 156 months in prison, Hanen said that he was weighing both positive factors about Villalobos as brought forth during trial and in letters to the court and the negatives, as also brought forth during trial.
Hanen said he also considered the office of trust that Villalobos had held, noting that discretion “can’t be for sale … it can’t be dispensed to only those who have the right connections politically or the right lawyer …”
Hanen found that a 156-month sentence “protects the public and promotes respect for the law.” Hanen also explained the sentence by noting that while Villalobos was convicted of serious offenses, he did consider that the possibility of Villalobos repeating criminal activity “is virtually nil.”
Read the Valley Morning Star article in full here.