Insurance Broker Pleads Guilty To Bribery

Samuel Mullen, (left) who is alleged to have bribed an insurance consultant for area school districts, walking out of federal court today in San Antonio with his lawyer, David R. Gorena (right). Mullen entered a not guilty plea to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Photo: /Guillermo Contreas /Staff / San Antonio Express-News

Samuel Mullen, (left), walking out of federal court today in San Antonio with his lawyer, David R. Gorena (right) admitted Tuesday that he bribed a consultant for area school districts for inside information to help win insurance contracts.

Broker admits paying for inside info on San Antonio school districts

By Guillermo Contreras

Updated 4:41 pm, Tuesday, November 1, 2016

An insurance broker admitted Tuesday that he bribed a consultant for area school districts for inside information to help win insurance contracts.

Samuel Mullen , who now lives in the Rio Grande Valley, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Primomo and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud. Sentencing was set for Jan. 25 before U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Roomberg said Mullen, along with two co-defendants, might be responsible for restitution of as much as $2.5 million, though “we think it’s going to be substantially less.” Like his two co-defendants, Mullen faces up to five years in prison.

According to the FBI, Mullen was chief financial officer of Mullen Pension & Benefits Group LLC and bribed William Haffmore than $83,000 for helping the Mullen Group’s clients land contracts at the San Antonio, Edgewood and South San Antonio independent school districts, as well as the now-defunct Bexar Metropolitan Water District.

Haff was an insurance industry consultant hired by the school districts and BexarMet to provide advice and was barred from being paid by those wishing to do business with the districts. In March, Haff, 46, pleaded guilty for his role in the conspiracy, which lasted from 2007 to 2014, records show.

In September, Joshua J. Cerna, a former board member of the Harlandale Independent School District, also pleaded guilty to a wire fraud conspiracy charge for having a role in the scheme when he worked as vice president of strategic markets for the Mullen Group.

Cerna served on the Harlandale board for 10 years through 2012, but that district is not among those listed as being defrauded.

Adam Cortez, a lawyer representing Diane Garcia, Mullen’s ex-wife, said the Mullen Group ceased to exist around 2014, and that neither Sam Mullen nor Cerna had been with the company for some time. After divorcing Mullen, Garcia formed a new company, Agora Benefits, which does business with some area school districts, Cortez said.

“There’s no one associated with the new entity that has any liability,” Cortez said. “And I don’t foresee any.”

gcontreras@express-news.net

Twitter: @gmaninfedland

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