HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A father and daughter that were both formerly elected to positions in La Joya have been sentenced to federal prison for their role in a wire fraud scheme.
On Thursday, Jose “Fito” Adolfo Salinas, 83, and Frances Salinas, 53, were sentenced to 33 months and 39 months, respectively, in federal prison after pleading guilty to charges of wire fraud.
Fito served as La Joya mayor from 2011 to 2019. Frances is a former La Joya Independent School District board member who was serving as interim executive director of the La Joya Housing Authority board during the time of these offenses.
Allegations surrounding Fito began in December 2019 when Frances was arrested for acting as an intermediary between city officials.
Frances was set to receive $10 thousand per month from a contract designated for Sylvia Garces Valdez, a friend of Frances’s who was hired to be a public relations consultant for the city. This contract was signed by Jose in June 2018. Similar charges were brought against Garces Valdez in the same case, however, these were dismissed.
Additionally, court documents revealed that from January 2016 to approximately July 2016, Jose devised a scheme that resulted in the city of La Joya purchasing property he owned at a highly-inflated rate.
Jose was arrested for these actions in February 2020 and charged with two counts of wire fraud.
Initially, the former mayor pleaded not guilty, and more than a year of litigation ensued between the U.S. District Court’s Southern District of Texas and Jose.
A trial was scheduled for Fito in July 2021 but during trial hearings he decided to plead guilty on July 19, 2021. Frances pleaded guilty in June 2021.