Daughter of former La Joya mayor pleads guilty to wire fraud conspiracy

1 month 2 weeks 3 days ago Thursday, June 17 2021 Jun 17, 2021 June 17, 2021 3:07 PM June 17, 2021 in News - Local

The daughter of former La Joya Mayor Jose A. “Fito” Salinas pleaded guilty Thursday for her role in defrauding the city’s economic development corporation out of thousands of dollars.

Frances Salinas De Leon pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, records show.

According to the indictment against her, between November 2016 through March 2018, De Leon, her father and La Joya Housing Authority maintenance director Ramiro Alaniz are accused of borrowing money from the city’s EDC for an adult daycare center that was never completed.

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During that time period, De Leon, who served as the housing authority’s interim executive director, requested more than $416,000 in loans to complete the Arcoiris day care center, according to the indictment.

As chairman of the EDC board, Salinas voted to approve the loans.

De Leon would then write checks to subcontractors, who would in turn cash them out and give the money back to her, the indictment states.

“Additionally, De Leon embezzled U.S. currency from the Arcoiris, LLC bank account…via cash withdrawals and ATM withdrawals,” according to the indictment.

The indictment against De Leon lists four other charges where she allegedly attempted to defraud the city and the housing authority through other schemes.

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As part of a plea agreement signed Thursday, De Leon will provide restitution to the La Joya EDC, the La Joya Housing Authority, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the city of La Joya.

In return, the remaining charges against De Leon will be dropped.

De Leon will remain on bond pending her sentencing set for Aug. 31, records show.

Alaniz also pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge and has sentencing set for Aug.31.

Salinas has a pretrial hearing set for July 2.

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