Financial Crime: Former Texas police chief convicted for taking kickbacks in emergency radio scheme and funneling payments to his side gig — a band called Funky Munky
The former chief of police for San Angelo, Texas was convicted of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes through payments to his band “Funky Munky” in return for steering a multi-million contract to an emergency radio company.
Timothy Ray Vasquez, 52, was elected three times to be San Angelo’s top cop from 2004 until 2016, during which he advocated that the city buy a public safety radio system for nearly $6 million from Dailey & Wells Communications, a San Antonio-based emergency radio provider, prosecutors said.
In 2015, Vasquez pushed officials in San Angelo — a city of 100,000 people about 3 ½ hours west of Austin — to spend millions more on a radio system upgrade, also provided by Dailey & Wells, prosecutors said.
Over the course of 13 years, prosecutors said the company paid $175,000 to Vasquez’s band, Funky Munky — a cover band that played at weddings and parties — purportedly for performances at company events. Vasquez was the band’s drummer.
But while Funky Munky typically played for $1,000 to $3,000 per gig, Dailey & Wells paid between $8,000 and $50,000, according to court documents.
A representative for Dailey & Wells didn’t immediately reply to a message seeking comment.
Prosecutors said that Vasquez would deposit the checks into his own account and would often pocket large parts of it himself in cash.
Vasquez also accepted luxury box tickets to Dallas Cowboys and San Antonio Spurs’ games and luxury suite tickets to a concert by Journey from the company. Prosecutors said he also was given free use of a swank condo apartment in San Antonio.
Vasquez testified at trial that he suggested the city buy the company’s radio system because it was the best available and that he had made a mistake in not filing a conflict of interest form related to his band’s relationship with the company. He said he thought everyone in the department knew that he played shows for Dailey & Wells.
“My life has always been like that. I had my cop hat, I had my ‘Head Munky’ hat,” he testified, according to SanAngeloLive.com.
He said the band received extra pay for the gigs because they were private parties.
A message left with Vasquez’s attorney wasn’t immediately returned.
Vasquez was found guilty of one count of receipt of a bribe by an agent of an organization receiving federal funds and three counts of honest services mail fraud. He faces up to 70 years in federal prison when he is sentenced.
“Law enforcement officers, particularly those in leadership positions, should be bastions of integrity. By accepting bribes, Mr. Vasquez defiled his badge,” said Chad Meacham, the U.S. attorney for the northern district of Texas. “The Justice Department is determined to root out public corruption wherever we find it. Our citizens deserve honest public servants.”