A former Brownsville school trustee is going to federal prison – for more than 6 years – after getting caught in an FBI bribery sting. 49-year-old Sylvia Atkinson was sentenced in Brownsville federal court Wednesday morning to 80 months in prison, six months after being found guilty on eight counts of bribery and conspiracy.
Atkinson was found to have used her influence to coerce cash payments from school district contractors. She was arrested in December 2019 in an FBI undercover operation surrounding a proposed film project in which Atkinson was paid $10,000 to ensure the project would be approved.
Atkinson’s arrest came just a little more than halfway into her first term as a Brownsville school board member.