Former La Joya school board Trustee Juan Jose “J.J.” Garza pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge Wednesday.

Garza struck a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which is punishable by a maximum 20 years in federal prison.

“I can’t fight it,” said Garza, 49, the former executive director of the La Joya Housing Authority. “I don’t have money.”

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa scheduled sentencing for July 26.

“Hopefully I’ll get probation,” Garza said.

Prosecutors accused Garza of participating in a bid-rigging scheme and secured an eight-count indictment against him on wire fraud charges.

As CBS 4 News previously reported:

Garza rigged the bidding process at the Alamo Housing Authority and Donna Housing Authority by submitting fake bids, according to the indictment.
In July 2012, the Alamo Housing Authority solicited bids for a construction project.
Garza submitted three bids: a fake bid from Crane Construction, a fake bid submitted under the name “Carlos Orillana” and a legitimate-looking bid from Jimenez Construction, according to the indictment.
The Alamo Housing Authority awarded the contract to Jimenez Construction, a company controlled by Armando Jimenez.
Jimenez submitted three invoices for payment.
Garza and subcontractors who worked for him, though, actually completed the work, according to the indictment. The Department of Housing and Urban Development paid $19,950.
In December 2012, the Donna Housing Authority solicited bids for a construction project.
Garza submitted a fake bid from Crane Construction and a legitimate-looking bid from Jimenez Construction, according to the indictment.
The Donna Housing Authority awarded the contract to Jimenez Construction.
Jimenez submitted four invoices for payment, according to the indictment. The Department of Housing and Urban Development paid $24,844.

The charges aren’t related to Garza’s work for the La Joya Housing Authority, which fired him in December. He resigned from the school board in March.

“I should have known better,” Garza said.