Three men will appear in federal court on Oct. 7 for a preliminary hearing on charges of conspiracy to bribe a public official.
An identical affidavit attached to the criminal complaints against Francisco Colorado-Cessa, Francisco Colorado Jr. and Ramon Segura Flores alleges that they planned to give $1.2 million to a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in exchange for a reduced sentence for Colorado-Cessa, who was convicted of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments on May 9.
“At no time before or during this investigation has the Judge been involved,” states the affidavit by Federal Bureau of Investigations Agent Robert P. Mundy. The affidavit doesn’t name the judge.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of Austin presided over Colorado-Cessa’s sentencing, according to the Sept. 10 Judgment in a Criminal Case in United States v. Francisco Antonio Colorado-Cessa. Sparks sentenced Colorado-Cessa to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment. Colorado-Cessa is also liable with other co-defendants for a $60 million money judgment, and he will have to forfeit bank accounts, cash, aircraft, farm and ranch equipment, horses and real property.
In response to a telephone call seeking comment from Sparks, judicial assistant Linda Mizell says that Sparks declines comment because it’s a pending case.
Each of the following did not return a call seeking comment: Chris Flood, who represents Colorado-Cessa; David Gerger, who represents Colorado Jr.; Paul Nugent, who represents Segura Flores; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Gardner.
The affidavit identifies the three men as: “Colorado-Cessa,” his son, “Colorado Jr.,” and his business associate, “Segura.”
In the affidavit, Mundy alleges that from mid-August to Sept. 4 agents recorded telephone calls from the Bastrop County jail that revealed that the three men agreed and planned to bribe a U.S. district court judge to get a reduced sentence for Colorado-Cessa.
Mundy alleges that he received an initial tip in July from a two-year “cooperating source” who said another person had told him about the bribery attempt.
The investigation involved an undercover Austin Police Department (APD) officer who posed as a “former federal inmate who had been sentenced by the same Judge” and an undercover FBI agent who posed as the APD officer’s brother-in-law and his attorney before the judge.
The two officers on July 18 met with the person who had told Mundy’s source about the alleged bribe. On Aug. 7 they told that person they were law enforcement, and he agreed to help them in exchange for “consideration” for his role in the alleged crime. He and Segura met with the APD officer on Aug. 13.
On Aug. 18, “surveillance investigators” saw Colorado Jr. and Segura at the Bastrop County Jail. In a recording, Colorado Jr. and Segura discussed with Colorado-Cessa “a planned meeting” with the two officers. Then Segura and Colorado Jr. met in Austin with the APD officer and the FBI agent, who is called “UC-2″ in the affidavit.
“During the meeting, Colorado Jr. asked UC-2, ‘How much for the judge and how much for you?’ UC-2 replied $1,200,000 for the Judge and $25,000 for UC-2′s ‘retainer.’ Colorado Jr. said, ‘Okay,” Mundy alleges. Colorado Jr., Segura and the officers talked about paying an Aug. 28 “down-payment” of $250,000 and Colorado Jr. and Segura “were given a fabricated story where the Judge would accept a golf bag in the trunk of a car while playing golf with UC-2.”
Segura delayed the Aug. 28 meeting because of “trouble accessing the money.”
On Aug. 30, Segura met with both officers. The FBI agent showed Segura “which offense points could be removed from the sentencing guideline calculation.” He explained that Colorado-Cessa “would have to pretend to cooperate after sentencing as a pretext for the Judge to reduce his sentence. The Judge would then grant a ‘Rule 35′ reduction to a five year sentence after the remainder of the bribe was paid,” Mundy alleges.
Then at a Sept. 3 meeting, Colorado Jr. said he wanted his father to get more of a sentencing reduction at the initial hearing, and he wanted to pay the money after the sentencing.
Colorado Jr. received a phone call during the meeting — investigators recorded the call — from Colorado-Cessa, who instructed him not to pay until he received a reduced sentence, alleges the affidavit.
Colorado Jr. and Segura were arrested on Sept. 5, according to arrest warrants in their cases.