Precinct One Commissioner Mike Montemayor was accused of asking for and taking cash and goods in exchange for getting people jobs and business contracts.
LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - Webb County Judge Danny Valdez said Montemayor has done a lot of good things for his precinct and that he was shocked when he found out about the arrest. Montemayor's attorney said the charges against his client are merely allegations.
Mike Montemayor took office as commissioner of precinct one in January of 2013. Now, he's charged with two counts of bribery. Oscar Vela is Montemayor's attorney. He said they'll fight the charges.
"Merely is a claim that the government is raising against Mr. Montemayor. He has a right to a jury trail, a jury of his peers to decide whether the evidence is true. If the government can't prove their case then this is nothing more than an allegation. My client is presumed innocent, he is cloaked with a robe of innocence and we look forward to fighting the charges."
We tried contacting Commissioner Montemayor, but our phone calls were not returned. Montemayor did, however, take to social media to make a statement. This is exactly how his posting appeared, on Facebook:
“As my attorney says, ‘cases are won in the courtroom.’ Joe Becerra. So today let u know that there is more to the story. A lot more. I wish I could say more but I can't. I have a great team of attorneys and I am confident that all this will turn out for the best. The media can say what they want but I will have my day in court. I will always walk with my head up. No matter what! Thank you all for your support and as I said, I will have my day in court. Thank you Oscar Vela and Joe Becerra and your team of attorneys. I know I will be ok.”
Current Webb County Judge, Danny Valdez, spoke out about commissioner Mike Montemayor being arrested. He said with all the work Montemayor has done for his precinct, he was shocked to hear that he was arrested.
"I was surprised when I first heard about it. I was in shock. It's unfortunate again because Webb County is in the public's eye in the state of Texas. But he's presumed innocent until proven guilty so he is going to have his day in court and we will see what happens from there. We always have to keep in mind, always keep in mind we are under the microscope."
Montemayor is accused of accepting use of a truck valued at $37,000 in exchange to providing government jobs to the truck's owner and his wife. He's also accused of accepting $11,000 in cash, as well as electronics, in exchange for promoting the interests of one businessman. The FBI said that "businessman" was actually an undercover law enforcement agent. He is scheduled to be back in court, Wednesday, for arraignment.
HERE IS THE ORIGINAL STORY POSTED ON KGNS.TV:
LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - A Webb County Commissioner in office for less than 15 months has been arrested on federal charges.
Precinct One Commissioner Mike Montemayor was arrested this morning. He's accused of asking for and taking cash and goods in exchange for getting people jobs and business contracts. This indictment reads that Montemayor is charged with two counts of federal programs bribery.
In one case, Montemayor is accused of asking for, and accepting, a 2012 Ford truck. The F.B.I. says that truck was valued at about $37,000. They say in exchange for using the truck, Montemayor promised government jobs to the truck's owner and the owner's spouse.
In the second case, the F.B.I. says Montemayor accepted about $11,000 in cash and about $2,700 in electronics, from a businessman.
In exchange for that, the F.B.I. says Montemayor promised to take "official" action to promote the man's business interests. But they say what he did not know is that businessman was actually an undercover law enforcement agent.
If Montemayor is convicted of the charges, he could face up to 10 years in prison for each bribery charge. He could also be fined up to $250,000 on each charge.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE:
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Department of Justice) - Kristopher Michael Montemayor, a county commissioner for Precinct 1 of the Webb County Commissioners Court in Texas, was arrested today on charges of bribery, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
A federal grand jury in the Southern District of Texas returned an indictment on March 18, 2014, that charges Montemayor, 36, of Laredo, Texas, with two counts of federal programs bribery. The indictment was unsealed following today’s arrest.
According to allegations in the indictment, while serving as a county commissioner, Montemayor solicited and accepted bribes in exchange for promising to perform various official acts. Montemayor allegedly accepted the use of a 2012 Ford truck, which cost approximately $37,015, in exchange for promising to provide government jobs to both the vehicle’s owner and his spouse.
The indictment further alleges that Montemayor, while serving as a county commissioner, solicited and accepted approximately $11,000 in cash as well as electronics equipment worth approximately $2,700 from a businessman who, unbeknownst to Montemayor, was an undercover law enforcement agent. The indictment alleges that Montemayor promised to take official action to promote the business interests of the undercover agent in exchange for cash and electronics.
If convicted, Montemayor faces a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison for each bribery charge. Each charge also carries a maximum $250,000 fine.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Laredo Resident Agency. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Emily Rae Woods and Mark Cipolletti of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.