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Monday, February 27, 2012

Mayor, Police Officers Charged in Public Corruption Case

Patton Village mayor, 6 others indicted in corruption case
The Houston Chronicle by Mike Glenn - February 24, 2012

Patton Village Mayor Pamela Munoz and other city officials were indicted Friday in a public corruption case accusing them of using police cars, bought with federal grant money, as collateral to get bank loans that they then dipped into for personal use. A six-month investigation led to the indictments of Munoz, two other city officials and four city police officers, prosecutors with the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office said. A grand jury indicted Munoz on 10 corruption-related charges, ranging from abuse of official capacity to theft by a public servant. She was led away in handcuffs Friday. "In Montgomery County, public officials will be expected to act both lawfully and responsibly when dealing with public funds and property," said Tyler Dunman, an assistant district attorney in the public integrity division. Also indicted Friday were Patton Village city secretary Georgia Simons, court clerk Patricia Edmondson and Patton Village police officers Kenneth McLin, Michael Seymour, William Martin and Deangelo Lavergne. "We believe the mayor was the most active in these type of transactions. But, the others also have benefited by taking loans of city money for themselves," Dunman said. In addition to taking thousands of dollars from Patton Village's coffers, Munoz is accused of acquiring city-owned furniture and a computer for personal use and paying her trash service bills with city funds.

Theft accusations

Simons, Edmondson and officers Martin and Lavergne also stand accused of taking city funds, ranging from about $500 to more than $1,000, according to the indictments. The grand jury accused officers McLin and Seymour of making criminal background checks on people not linked to an official investigation. In October, the district attorney's office served warrants at Patton Village city offices, taking away computers and official records. Assisted by the FBI, investigators searched the files and built the case that led to Friday's criminal indictments. "Is this the last of the investigation? I honestly doubt it," Dunman said. "We will continue to investigate any allegations and make any arrests that are needed," Dunman said. The mayor and five of the other Patton Village officials were in custody late Friday. A final employee is out of town but is expected to surrender on Saturday, Dunman said. Bail for Munoz is set at about $200,000. The others also remain in the Montgomery County Jail with bail set at about $20,000, Dunman said.

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