U.S. Seizes Investment Account Of Former Mexican Governor’s Political Appointee
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - An investment account in McAllen alleged to be owned by Homero De La Garza Tamez has been seized as a result of an the efforts of a multi-agency Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task (OCDETF) investigation, announced Drug Enforcement (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Tamez is the former Instituto Tamaulipeco De Vivienda Y (ITAVU) director in the State of Tamaulipas, Mexico.
The account, held at UBS Financial Services Inc. in McAllen, contained $1,109,989.66 as of Nov. 4, 2014. According to the civil forfeiture complaint, the funds in the account were involved in a money laundering transaction, that the property constitutes or was derived from proceeds traceable to offenses including bribery of a public official, or the misappropriation, theft or embezzlement of public funds by or for the benefit of a public official.
Tamez is allegedly the holder of that account. The complaint alleges Tamez transferred bribe monies from Mexico into the account in the United States.
ITAVU is the Tamaulipas Institute for Housing and Urban Development. Tamez was appointed as director by former Tamaulipas Governor Eugenio Hernandez Flores. ITAVU is the department in Tamaulipas responsible for supporting lower income residents with housing programs and financing programs. One of the programs under ITAVU assisted municipalities by paying half of the costs associated with the repair of city streets and the construction of new streets within their city. The city would pay the remaining half of the costs. The program did not require municipalities to participate in the program. ITAVU also developed properties and built homes, in conjunction with providing special financing programs, which allowed low income families to move into new homes.
The complaint alleges that during his tenure as the director of ITAVU, Tamez would receive bribe money from the government contractors who received contracts from the state government of Tamaulipas after the government officials would falsify and manipulate the bids during the bidding process. The complaint further alleges Tamez received multiple of these types of payments throughout his political career and that he received these bribes in the forms of cash and bank deposits made into his bank accounts, which were ultimately transferred into the UBS account.
The complaint seeks the forfeiture of the $1,109,986.66 held in the investment account at UBS Financial Service Inc.
The investigation leading to the civil forfeiture complaint was conducted through OCDETF in McAllen, San Antonio, Brownsville, Houston and Corpus Christi. FBI, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the Leon Valley Police Department conducted the investigation. This case is being prosecuted in the by Assistant United States Attorney Julie K. Hampton.