DALLAS Former Bear Stearns managing director Roberto Bobby Ruiz was sentenced Tuesday to two years in federal prison for his role in a massive El Paso County corruption case that led to numerous convictions of public officials.
U.S. District Judge Frank Montalvo also sentenced Raymond R. Telles, a lobbyist who had served on the El Paso City Council, to five years probation.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation says its probe into El Paso public corruption has produced 39 federal convictions in the last five years, including 36 guilty pleas and three more people who were convicted by juries.
The sentencing of Mr. Ruiz and Mr. Telles are a reminder that those who illegally conspire to profit from taxpayer dollars will have to answer to the people of El Paso, FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist said in a statement.
Among those who pleaded guilty were Ruiz, Telles, and county judge Anthony Cobos, who was accused of accepting bribes involving a $40 million bond deal.
While Telles and Ruiz pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and deprivation of honest services, the pleas represent an admission to participating in a bribery scheme in an effort to secure a $40 million El Paso County debt refinancing contract, prosecutors said.
Cobos, architect Lorenzo Aguilar and others committed fraud in awarding a financial advisory contract to Bear Stearns in 2007, according to court documents.
Another former Bear Stearns banker, Chol-Su Chris Pak is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 16.
Ruiz and Telles were accused of delivering a $1,500 cash bribe to Cobos in 2007 for his support in the contract bid before the county commission voted. Prosecutors said that another $1,500 was to be given to Cobos after he voted in favor of Bear Stearns.
Ruiz, who told the court he had two children during the years he was awaiting trial, was also fined $175,000 and placed on three years of supervision after his release.
In sentencing Ruiz below the applicable advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, Judge Montalvo took into consideration the governments request to the court to acknowledge Ruiz lengthy, extensive, and beneficial assistance to the government in the El Paso public corruption investigation, as well as his assistance to other state and federal initiatives in other jurisdictions, according to an FBI news release.
I wanted to apologize for my actions that brought us here today, Ruiz said, according to the El Paso Times. I am ashamed. I seriously damaged the citizens of El Paso, the students who looked to me as a role model, my family, my (company), my colleagues.
I didn't need to get more to be more, Ruiz said. I allowed my drive to succeed, my ego, greed and blind ambition to overtake me.
The U.S. Attorneys Office said that Ruiz had aided the investigation and assisted in state and federal initiatives in other jurisdictions.
Richard Williamson is the Southwest Bureau Chief for The Bond Buyer.