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Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 8:24pm
El Paso, Texas (KDBC) — Eight years in prison, that's how long the former CEP of Access Health Source will spend behind bars for orchestrating an elaborate racketeering scheme.
Aside from prison time, Frank Apodaca will also have to pay back millions of dollars to the community.
Apodaca and codefendant Marc Schwartz received the exact same sentence today: 8 years in federal prison.
The pair created a scheme to bribe members of El Paso Commissioner’s Court and trustees to three school districts in exchange for taxpayer business.
Prior to sentencing, Apodaca wiped away tears as he explained how regretful he was for his actions.
He said “You have no idea how ashamed i am for my actions. I have asked god for forgiveness and I’ll find out later how that went.”
But us district judge Frank Montalvo didn’t accept his apology and made it very clear that thousands of people were affected by Apodaca's actions as well as by Schwartz's. Montalvo added.
"You only apologized once in your whole speech. Where you said, "I apologize to those who may have been hurt…"
He went on to say
"You didn't mention the tens of thousands of people who paid exceedingly more money for their medical insurance. People using Blue Shield who would have paid $300-400 ended paying up to $600."
Attorney Kenneth Del Valle requested leniency, asking that the court to keep in mind Apodaca's medical bills, as he is still undergoing medical treatment for his brain injuries.
But judge Montalvo referred to the original plea deal when announcing the sentence.
Additionally, Apodaca and Schwartz were each ordered to pay restitution totaling nearly 7 million dollars.
To break that down, about $4.1 million would be paid to the El Paso ISD, nearly $2.3 million would go to Ysleta ISD, and a little more than $433,000 would go to the El Paso County.
In Schwartz's case, prosecutors alleged he acted as a middle man to broker bribes made to elected officials. His attorney Richard Esper wasn't too happy with the sentence.
"i had requested a sentence of 4 years,” said Esper. “And I was hoping for something between that and the 8, and it just didn't happen."
But Esper said after all this Schwartz will begin a new chapter in his life.
"He knows this is the only way he can right the wrong,” Esper added. “He's taken a lot of steps and he'll probably have to take a lot more.”