Perjury charges against Villalobos dismissed

U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen on Wednesday signed an order dismissing perjury charges against convicted former Cameron County District Attorney Armando R. Villalobos.

A special prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Texas filed a motion Tuesday requested the charges be dismissed.

The motion stated the government no longer desires to pursue prosecution of Villalobos because he is already serving a 13-year prison sentence. Villalobos was convicted Feb. 11, 2014 on one count of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, one count of conspiracy to violate the RICO Act, and five counts of extortion and sentenced to prison.

“The Government believes that justice has been served as a result of the conviction and sentencing of (Villalobos),” the motion states. “The interests of justice are best served by dismissing the charges against Armando Villalobos in the above case.”

In the perjury case, Villalobos is accused of understating his and his wife’s income by about $155,625 in a 2006 income tax return. The government alleges Villalobos’ understatement resulted in a tax loss to the government of about $45,981.

Villalobos in December requested that a special federal public defender be assigned to defend him in the perjury case because he was unable to contact his attorney of record and he could not defend himself.

“Being incarcerated allows me no chance to adequately defend myself; thus, I am in need of an attorney familiar with the federal process on a case such as mine,” Villalobos wrote in a Dec. 3 handwritten letter to Hanen.

In his Feb. 11, 2014, conviction, authorities said Villalobos and others were involved in a scheme to “illegally generate income for themselves and others through a pattern of bribery and extortion, favoritism, improper influence, personal self-enrichment, self dealing, concealment and conflict of interest.” Jurors determined Villalobos solicited and accepted more than $100,000 in bribes and kickbacks in cash and campaign contributions in return for favorable prosecutorial discretion, minimizing charging decisions, pretrial diversion agreements, agreements on probationary matters and case dismissals.