Progreso Texas Mayor Pro-Tem Orlando Vela now stands accused of allegedly embezzling at least $5,000 from the Progreso School District according to federal court filings. Mayor Pro-Tem Vela is the fourth member of his family to face criminal charges of governmental corruption in the past year, according to local reports.
Federal prosecutors filed a “Criminal Information” complaint in a Houston federal court last month making the allegations, according to documents obtained by Breitbart Texas. A summons was issued at that time for Vela to appear before a federal magistrate judge for arraignment on the charge of stealing school district property.
The McAllen Monitor reports Vela works as the school district’s asset and risk manager and for Borderline Office Supplies. The Monitor explains the unusual nature of how these charges were filed. Normally, a federal grand jury would issue an indictment after being presented facts showing Vela’s involvement in the alleged crime or crimes. In this case, a “Criminal Information” process was used instead. Under this process the Defendant must waive their right to have the case taken before a grand jury and is usually used when a plea agreement is in place prior to the formal charges being filed.
However, according to local report, Vela’s lawyer and his wife claim to know little, if anything about the charges.
Vela’s brother–who served as the school board president and Progreso mayor–and their father were indicted last year of “essentially controlling the city and school district via pay-to-play bribery schemes,” according to The Monitor.
The local article provides the following background on the charges:
Vela patriarch Jose Guadalupe “Lupe” Vela and his sons Michael “Mikey” Vela and Mayor Omar Vela were indicted in August. Jose Vela was the school district’s maintenance director, Michael Vela was its board president and Omar Vela was its head of truancy and security. The three have been accused of keeping a stranglehold over school district contracts requiring that any vendors working with the district kick back money to them via false invoicing and other methods. Those cases are still pending.
The criminal information document obtained by Breitbart Texas is offered for full context review.
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