A federal grand jury indicted San Angelo’s former Chief of Police for public corruption following an investigation by the FBI Dallas Field Office, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
Timothy Ray Vasquez, 49, was charged Wednesday with one count of receipt of a bribe by an agent of an organization receiving federal funds and three counts of honest services mail fraud.
“We must insist that law enforcement leaders personify integrity,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “Former Chief Vasquez abused his office for personal financial gain. We are determined to root out corruption wherever we find it. Public officials cannot be allowed to violate their sacred trusts.”
“The defendant manipulated a government procurement process to personally profit for years. This abuse of power affected a system that is supposed to be fair and unbiased,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Office Matthew J. DeSarno. “Public corruption is one of the FBI’s top investigative priorities. We will continue to hold elected officials accountable for violating the trust of their constituents.”
Mr. Vasquez – who was elected Chief of Police in 2004, then reelected in 2008 and 2012 – made his initial appearance in federal court Friday afternoon.
According to the indictment, Mr. Vasquez allegedly used his official position to help a radio system vendor land two government contracts worth more than $11 million. In return, the vendor and its affiliates allegedly funneled him and his band, “Funky Munky,” more than $130,000.
Per the indictment, in February 2007, the City of San Angelo solicited bids for a new radio system for first responders, including the police department. Three vendors submitted bids.
Mr. Vasquez allegedly asked one of the vendors for a vacation trip but was rebuffed.
In April, Mr. Vasquez recommended the city award the $5.6 million contract to a different vendor, identified in the indictment as “Vendor 1,” who was eventually selected for the contract.
Three months later, in July, Juniper Valley, L.P., an affiliate of Vendor 1, cut a $10,000 check to “Funky Munky Band.” Mr. Vasquez deposited the funds into his personal checking account.
For the next eight years, Mr. Vasquez received yearly payments of approximately $8,000 from Vendor 1 and its affiliates, Juniper Valley and Trixie & Fini, either made out to Mr. Vasquez or his band.
By 2015, Mr. Vasquez and Funky Money had collected more than $84,000, including $38,200 the defendant deposited directly into his personal bank account and $29,800 he withdrew in cash.
However, seven years after the original contract was awarded, the radio technology provided by Vendor 1 was “phased out.” In an email with city employees, Mr. Vasquez indicated he wanted to “use the same vendor” for the new equipment and urged the City Manager to support Vendor 1. In another email with a city employee, he discussed an exemption from the competitive bidding process that would allow San Angelo to award the contract to Vendor 1.
Following a presentation made by then-Chief Vasquez and another employee, San Angelo awarded a new $5.7 million contract to Vendor 1 in June 2015.
Six months later, Vendor 1 wrote a check to “Funky Munky,” noting “Timothy R. Vasquez” in the check’s memo section. A few days later, Mr. Vasquez endorsed the $50,000 check and deposited the entire amount into his personal bank account.
In total, Mr. Vasquez and Funky Munky received at least $134,000 from Vendor 1 and its affiliates, including at least $88,200 he deposited into his personal bank account and $29,800 he withdrew in cash.
Funky Munky’s typical fee to play at an event runs from $1,000 – $3,000.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
If convicted, Mr. Vasquez faces up to 70 years in federal person.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Texas Rangers, with the full cooperation of the San Angelo Police Department and the City of San Angelo, conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeff Haag and Chad Meacham are prosecuting the case.