Former Crystal City officials plead guilty to federal bribery charges

Bribery and kickback scheme involved city contracts

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CRYSTAL CITY - Two former Crystal City officials pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with a bribery and kickback scheme, federal officials said.

Former Crystal City Mayor Pro-Tem Rogelio Mata and his brother, former Crystal City Councilman Roel Mata, pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon.

The bribery and kickback scheme involved city contracts, federal officials said. The brothers both pleaded guilty to one count of federal programs bribery.

The brothers each face up to 10 years in federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000, a $12,291.73 monetary judgement and a forfeiture of approximately $1,000 seized by authorities during investigation.

The defendants admitted to using their official positions to enrich themselves by soliciting and accepting cash bribes from people wanting to do business in Crystal City, federal officials said. They also admitted to voting to award a contract to a person who had provided them with cash bribes.

The brothers are the second and third defendants to plead guilty in this case. Ngoc Tri Nguyen pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery involving an entity receiving more than $10,000 in federal funds.

Ngueyn admitted to paying $6,000 in bribes in exchange for various official acts from his co-defendants. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison. He’s scheduled to go before a judge to receive sentencing on November 9.

Former Crystal City attorney and city manager William Jonas, former Crystal City Mayor Ricardo Lopez and former Crystal City Councilman Gilbert Urrabazo remain under indictment and are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery involving an entity receiving over $10,000 in federal funds.

Jonas also faces three substantive federal programs bribery charges, and Lopez and Urrubazo also face one substantive federal programs bribery charge.

Sentencing for the Mata brothers has not been scheduled yet. 

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