Skip to content

Sentencing for former La Joya mayor delayed until January

Former La Joya Mayor Jose A. “Fito” Salinas (center wearing the tan jacket) left the federal courthouse in McAllen on July 19, 2021, after pleading guilty to wire fraud. (Photo by Dave Hendricks / The Progress Times.)


Former La Joya Mayor Jose A. “Fito” Salinas will spend the holidays at home after a judge delayed his sentencing hearing until January.

Fito Salinas, 83, of La Joya — who dominated local politics for nearly a decade — confessed to participating in a kickback scheme that involved his daughter, Frances Salinas, and her friend, Sylvia Garces Valdez.

Prosecutors, though, also charged Fito Salinas with participating in schemes to defraud the city and the La Joya Economic Development Corp.

Attorney Richard E. Zayas of Brownsville, who represents Fito Salinas, argued the other schemes aren’t “relevant conduct” and shouldn’t be considered at sentencing. Prosecutors apparently disagreed.

“Defense counsel and the Government feel that a lengthy sentencing hearing will have to be heard wherein several witnesses will be called for a contested hearing,” according to a motion Zayas filed on Nov. 23. “Defendant asks the Court to set this matter for a contested hearing date wherein both parties can subpoena witnesses and have a full hearing on the contested issues.”

Attorney David Acosta of McAllen, who represents Frances Salinas, filed a similar motion.

“As explained in his motion, Mr. Salinas intends to subpoena witnesses and prepare for a contested hearing,” Acosta wrote in a motion filed on Monday. “Because the matters that will be addressed during Mr. Salinas’s hearing may also pertain to Defendant Frances Salinas De Leon, she too is requesting that her hearing be continued to the same date.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, which is prosecuting Fito Salinas and Frances Salinas, didn’t oppose the delay.

After reviewing the motions, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane rescheduled their sentencing hearings for Jan. 18.

Leave a Comment