Mayor Of Toyah Behind Bars For Allegedly Stealing Cash From His City

By Jen Kastner 

NewsWest 9

The FBI tells NewsWest 9 they arrested Mayor Bartolo Sanchez of Toyah, Texas as part of an ongoing investigation. Sanchez was cuffed Friday morning in the small city, which is just west of Pecos, Texas.

He was indicted Wednesday and now faces one count of bank fraud, one count of wire fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft.

Toyah is a community of only 100 or so people. One local who wishes to remain anonymous tells NewsWest 9, "He does everything by the law and by the book. He's not into anything bad. He is a really good guy and I don't think he'd do anything to get himself in trouble. He is always out there to help everybody."

Sanchez's indictment was unsealed Friday and shows examples of how he repeatedly dipped into city funds for use that was personal in nature. He even created an account that was unknown to the city, where he stashed thousands of dollars that belonged to the city, and then proceeded to write checks to himself from that account.

The indictment also details how he'd forge other city workers' signatures to keep stealing cash.

Furthermore, according to the document, Sanchez sought mileage reimbursement far in excess of any reasonable amount of mileage driven on behalf of the city. For example, in an 18 day period from late May to mid-June of 2010, Sanchez reported he drove 362 miles and needed to be reimbursed $543.00. That appears to be quite a lot of mileage for Toyah, which is only one and a half square miles.

In total, Sanchez is accused of writing more than $66,877.45 in checks to himself from the city's accounts.

His family, who was in the Midland federal courtroom during his first appearance, says Sanchez is not to blame. They believe someone else has set him up.

Sister Angel Machuca tells us, "He's innocent and I know deep down inside that he's innocent. He's always been there for everybody- not just family but also the community. This, to me, is ridiculous but we have a lot of faith in our heavenly father and our father in heaven will take care of this for us."

Sanchez will have a hearing next Wednesday, December 5th at the Midland federal courthouse.