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Border Corruption: City Public Housing Director, Secretary Sent to Prison

MCALLEN, Texas — The director of the City of Hidalgo Housing Authority and her secretary have been sentenced to prison for demanding bribes in exchange for providing government funded housing.

Earlier this week, 61-year-old Susana Munguia and 54-year-old Lubina Pedraza went before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez  who handed down their sentences.

Munguia will serve four years and nine months in prison. Pedraza will serve three years and ten months in prison. Judge Alvarez ordered both women to turn over $14,497 in bribe money that the two former public officials are said to have collected.

Breitbart Texas initially reported on the arrest of the Munguia and Pedraza in February 2015.

The court records state that from July 2011 to May 2014, the two women allegedly took bribes from individuals seeking housing assistance and then let them bypass procedures and wait times to immediately receive their benefits.

Also, from July 2013 to May 2014, the two women allegedly issued fraudulent subsidy checks for empty properties in order to keep the funds. Once the checks were made out and signed by Munguia, Pedraza would then go to local currency exchange stores to cash them and the two women would split the money.

According to information provided to Breitbart Texas by the U.S. Attorneys’s Office, after Munguia and Pedraza received the bribe, the paying party (or the person for whom payment was made), would immediately receive their subsidized housing.

In recent years, cases of public corruption have become commonplace in this border region. Public officials at all levels including some top law enforcement and judicial officials have fallen prey to bribery and other practices. While the cases had been relegated to rumors and gossip for years in late 2014, Breitbart Texas met with the FBI when they announced a new task force aimed at fighting public corruption at the border. Since then, the number of public officials facing criminal charges continues to grow.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas you can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook

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