Former FSA Employee Serving 2 Years in Prison for $166,000 Loan Fraud
Wyatt Bechtel, Dairy Herd Management
April 12, 2019
A former U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) employee in Texas has been sentenced to two years in federal prison after leading a farm loan scheme that defrauded the government of more than $166,000.
Barbara Serna Salinas, 43, a former FSA loan officer in Uvalde, Texas, was sentenced on April 8 to pay $166,744.20 in restitution to USDA. In addition to Serna’s two year jail sentence, she will also serve a supervised release for a period of five years following her discharge from prison. According to the Department of Justice, the sentencing was handed down by U.S. District Judge Alia Moses in Del Rio.
Serna had previously plead guilty to one count of making a false statement on a loan application on June, 28, 2018. In the guilty plea, Serna admitted to issuing multiple fraudulent loans through FSA during a period from May 2011 to June 2016.
Serna was approving loans in exchange for cash or other forms of payment that were made by co-defendants, Ruben James Valadez, 44, of Uvalde, and Eric Torres Neira, 44, of San Antonio. A review of USDA loans approved by Serna after 2011 revealed that several loans were approved to Neira and Valadez that totaled more than $150,000.
Both Neira and Valadez had previously pleaded guilty to...
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