Jury finds former San Angelo police chief guilty of bribery, fraud
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - After three days on trial, former San Angelo police chief Tim Vasquez has been found guilty by a jury on charges of bribery and mail fraud.
The federal trial began on Monday, March 21. Vasquez was accused of taking more than $175,000 in kickbacks from an electronics company, Dailey-Wells Communication.
Prosecutors argued Vasquez used connections as the police chief to ensure Dailey-Wells Communication (DWC) received contracts when the City of San Angelo needed new communication systems in 2007 and 2015.
In return, prosecutors said Vasquez received payments from DWC for his band “Funky Munky” to perform every year from 2007 to 2016. The band received more than $84,000 for 10 performances, four times the amount they were normally paid.
During this time, Vasquez pushed DWC as the solution to the communication system issue and DWC received the contract for $5.7 million. After the contract was awarded, Vasquez received another $94,000 from the company.
In November 2016, Vasquez became aware of the investigation into the contract. According to federal attorneys, DWC wrote a $50,000 check to the band, with “Timothy R. Vasquez” in the memo line. Vasquez endorsed the check and deposited the full amount to his personal account.
Defense Attorney David Guinn argued Vasquez’ cover band and the payments they received were unrelated to the contract, saying the unusually high payments were to cover costs of transportation and accommodation for the band’s trips to San Antonio to perform.
Guinn stated the City Council had asked city IT Director Bucky Hasty to explain the new communication system, and he then spoke to Vasquez. Hasty testified in the trial, saying Vasquez told him the State mandated the new system, which Hasty later found to be inaccurate.
In the second day of the trial, current and former city councilmembers were called to testify, saying they knew Vasquez personally, but were unaware of his connections to DWC. All three stated Vasquez, as an elected official, should have disclosed connections with the company before the vote took place.
City Council member Lucy Gonzales stated she wouldn’t have voted for the contract if she had known of the connection because it would have been a conflict of interest, adding she first learned of the investigation on Facebook.
On Thursday, after a day of deliberations, the jury found Vasquez guilty on one count of receipt of a bribe and three counts of honest service mail fraud.
Vasquez was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service after the verdict, he faces up to 70 years in federal prison. A date for the sentencing hearing has not yet been set.
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