Former La Joya mayor indicted on wire fraud charges

Former La Joya Mayor Jose “Fito” Salinas was arrested Wednesday on wire fraud charges, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

The USAO stated that Salinas, 81, was indicted on two counts of wire fraud tied to a public relations contract and the purchase of real property.

Salinas is scheduled to make his initial appearance Thursday morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Juan Alaniz.

Allegations in the indictment against Salinas, which was unsealed Wednesday, include the city of La Joya purchasing property he owned “at a highly-inflated rate” as part of a scheme he “devised,” and that a public relations contract between the city and Sylvia Garces Valdez was based on the condition that his daughter, Frances Salinas De Leon, receive a portion of the contract’s payments.

Valdez and Salinas De Leon — former board member and former interim executive director for the La Joya Housing Authority, respectively — have also been charged in the scheme, according to the USAO.

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