Longtime Harris County Precinct One Constable Jack Abercia and two of his employees have been arrested and charged with bribery and unlawfully using a national criminal database for personal financial gain.
Abercia, 78, was arrested this morning along with Chief Lieutenant Weldon Kenneth Wiener and Office Chief Michael Butler on a 133-count indictment, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson said.
"Assistance from the public is often critical in these very important investigations," said Morris. "Anyone with information about potential wrongdoing by a public official is urged to contact the FBI."
The feds say "Abercia and Wiener would, according to the indictment, solicit and accept cash bribes in return for having unauthorized criminal background checks run on prospective employees of various businesses."
They used the National Criminal Information Center database that way at least 11 times, prosecutors say.
They also charged Abercia and Butler with taking a $5,000 bribe to hire "an otherwise unqualified applicant for a deputy constable position."
Butler took the payment and gave $3,000 to Abercia, the indictment says.
If convicted of the conspiracy charge, all three face up to five years in prison. Abercia and Wiener will also face an additional five years in prison for each count of exceeding authorized computer access, while Abercia and Butler could also receive an additional 10 years in prison if convicted of the bribery charge. All 13 counts also include a possible fine of $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release on each count.
The 20-year incumbet retired late last year after a Channel 13 investigation.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.