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Former vice chairwoman of La Joya Housing Authority board pleads not guilty

1 month 4 days 2 hours ago Thursday, January 23 2020 Jan 23, 2020 January 23, 2020 9:06 PM January 23, 2020 in News - Local

McAllen — The former vice chairwoman of the La Joya Housing Authority board pleaded not guilty Thursday to bribery and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Sylvia Garces Valdez, 39, of La Joya pleaded not guilty on Thursday morning, according to federal court records.

Garces Valdez, who served as vice chairwoman of the La Joya Housing Authority board, is accused of participating in a scheme to secure a public relations contract in La Joya.

According to the indictment against her, Garces Valdez paid Frances A. Salinas — the daughter of former La Joya Mayor Jose A. "Fito" Salinas and current City Commissioner Mary Salinas — "intending to influence and reward Person B, an elected official for the City of la Joya, for their influence in granting a public relations contract."

The FBI arrested Garces Valdez in August 2019. Frances Salinas was arrested in December. Federal prosecutors haven't publicly identified "Person B."

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