Its a sharp drop from the Mayor's office to a federal prison cell, but that is the path in front of Ricardo Lopez, the disgraced former Mayor of Crystal City, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Lopez was sentenced to 97 months in federal prison, after he was convicted of using the low income brush country community as his personal piggy bank. Lopez was found guilty of multiple counts of bribery involving federal programs, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and theft of honest services.
Prosecutors say Lopez and former Crystal City City Manager William James Jonas routinely shook down anybody who wanted to do business with the city for bribes, pocketing more than a million dollars before their scheme was busted in February of 2016, when the FBI raided Crystal City's government offices in a high profile operation.
"Mr. Lopez has received a fair sentence for his betrayal of the public trust,' U.S. Attorney John Bash said. "This case is just one example of our office's unyeilding fight against public corruption in central and west Texas."
Lopez can be grateful that he will be out of prison well before his former employee. Jonas was sentenced to 35 years in prison, and has to repay $1,047,000 he stole.
Three other former Crystal City officials have pleaded guilty to sticking thier fingers into the pot, and will be sentenced in September.