San Benito car dealer sentenced to time served after reaching plea deal

MGN Online

A Brownsville man accused of falsifying applications for an auto sale license had four counts of tampering with governmental records dropped Wednesday morning after reaching a plea deal with the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office.

George Z. Rafidi, 43, pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with governmental records for falsifying a concealed handgun license by failing to disclose a conviction in Israel for being a member of the Popular Front, a Palestinian group the U.S. has designated as a terrorist organization.

After entering the plea, 197th state District Judge Adolfo Cordova sentenced Rafidi to time served, which is a little bit more than a year.

More than 20 years ago, Rafidi pleaded guilty to being a member of the group and to flying flags and writing prohibited slogans. Isareli court documents state that Rafidi was a member only for a short time and left the group on his own accord.

Rafidi’s attorney, Reynaldo “Trey” Garza, said his client is glad to have his matters resolved with the State of Texas.

“As I’ve maintained all along, he’s not a violent person and he’s not a terrorist,” Garza said after the hearing.

In April, the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office raided Rafidi’s auto businesses in San Benito and Laguna Heights.

Garza said the DA’s Office will be returning most of Rafidi’s vehicle’s back to him.

Rafidi, however, remains in federal custody where he is awaiting sentencing on a charge of making a false statement or representation on his application for U.S. citizenship.

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com