Judge Abel Limas turned his South Texas courtroom into a money-making operation was sentenced Wednesday to six years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen sentenced former state district Judge Abel Limas, 59, on one count of racketeering in Brownsville, on the border with Mexico.
In a tearful statement Abel Limas made to the court before he was sentenced, he said that he willingly had done everything the government asked of him because as a former police officer, lawyer and judge, he knew the “writing was on the wall.”
“Interesting of all the jobs where corruption destroys justice in America this scumbag Abel Limas worked in all of them. He was a police officer, lawyer and judge”
Corrupt, Guilty Abel Limas said, while apologizing for the damage he had done to the justice system. “It wasn’t a mistake. I knew what I was engaging in.”
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s sentence exceeded the 4½ years requested by prosecutors.
Abel Limas drew the FBI’s attention in late 2007 as he neared the end of his second term in office. Investigators intercepted some 40,000 phone calls and collected surveillance photos documenting how Limas had converted his courtroom into a criminal enterprise, collecting bribes and kickbacks totaling $257,000.
Abel Limas pleaded guilty in 2011 and became the government’s star witness in four related trials that shook Cameron County’s justice system. He could have faced up to 20 years in prison but received credit for cooperation.