HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A former La Joya employee will spend months in federal prison for using federal funds to purchase lands for the city that belonged to him.
On Monday, Mike Alaniz, 58, was sentenced to four months in prison nearly three years after pleading guilty to the charge of “converts to own use property of another.”
Alaniz was arrested in October 2019 after it was found he purchased a property that he owned in the Palm Shores Subdivision for the city of La Joya at an overinflated price in 2017.
Court records show the city of La Joya bought a lot in this subdivision for $39,500. The estimated value of this lot was only $15,500, however.
At least $10 thousand were allocated to the city of La Joya from a federal grant program, according to court records.
He waived his indictment and pleaded guilty to the charges in October 2019.
Sentencing guidelines recommended a 6 to a 12-month prison sentence for Alaniz, but prosecutors chose a reduced sentence for him. As part of his plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to lower the punishment if Alaniz shows clear acceptance of responsibility. Alaniz also assisted prosecutors in the case against Fito Salinas.