McALLEN, Texas – The Mayor of Penitas has been charged with bribery and fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Authorities took Rodrigo Lopez, 38, into custody today as he re-entered the United States at a Port of Entry in Hidalgo County.
He is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nadia S. Medrano tomorrow at 11 a.m.
The two-count indictment, returned June 1 and unsealed today, charges Lopez with embezzling or fraudulently obtaining property of the La Joya Independent School District (LJISD). From March through August of 2018, LJISD allegedly made purchases totaling approximately $70,010 from Lopez’s company Xizaka LLC.
Lopez offered or gave a bribe to an LJISD employee in connection with these purchases, according to the allegations.
If convicted, Lopez faces up to 10 years on each count.
The FBI conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives; Texas Department of Insurance; McAllen Police Department and Customs and Border Protection. Assistant U.S. Attorney Roberto Lopez is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.