Three Rio Grande City men plead guilty in USDA bribery scheme

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Three Rio Grande City men pleaded guilty on Friday in a bribery scheme involving a U.S. Department of Agriculture repair grant program.

Roberto Rodriguez, Jose Sandoval and Daniel Diaz all pleaded guilty to bribery of public officials and witnesses.

They were all arrested on Aug. 24, 2023.

Rodriguez had worked as a rural development loan specialist for the USDA from January 2021 until his arrest and accepted bribes from Sandoval and Diaz, a news release at the time said.

“In return, Rodriguez allegedly referred applicants of the USDA 504 Single family Housing Repair Grant and Loan program to the contractors,” the release stated.

Once Rodriguez received the bribes, he influenced acts after federally funded repairs were contracted.

Federal prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of a little more than $45,000.

As of Saturday morning, federal court records did not reflect a sentencing date.