DOJ – West TX

DOJ - Department of Justice
DOJ - Department of Justice
  • San Antonio Man Pleads Guilty To Fraudulent Income Tax Return Preparation
    In San Antonio today, Richard Ortegon pleaded guilty to assisting in the preparation of a false U.S. Income Tax Returns which contained fraudulent deductions, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Sarah Kull, Houston Field Office. According to public records, the defendant owned and operated Aztec Tax Consulting Group, LLC and assisted clients in preparing their federal income tax returns.  On the tax returns he prepared and submitted to the IRS, Ortegon admittedly included false Residential Energy Credits and inflated expenses on Schedule A and Schedule C forms.  Specifically, on a client’s 2014 Individual Income Tax Return, Ortegon provided fraudulent figures--$8,092 in Residential Energy Credits and false expenses totaling $24,040.  Ortegon further admitted that the total tax due and owing attributed to the false income tax returns he prepared is approximately $75,000. “As we approach Monday’s deadline to file your taxes, remember: Intentionally falsifying your tax return is a serious federal crime,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash. “Most return preparer businesses are operating to ensure taxpayers are reporting to the IRS correctly.  Unfortunately, there are a few unscrupulous return preparers that violate their customers’ trust to benefit financially from the preparation and filing of false tax returns,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Kull.  “IRS-Criminal Investigation is committed to identifying these individuals that are exploiting our tax system for their personal gain.” Ortegon faces up to three years in federal prison and restitution to the IRS.  Sentencing is scheduled for July 8, 2019. Agents ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-04-11
    7 days ago
  • San Antonio Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison for Production of Child Pornography
    In San Antonio today, a federal judge sentenced 23–year-old Tommy Ray Garcia to the maximum 30 years in federal prison for production of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden, San Antonio. During sentencing yesterday, Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra also ordered that Garcia be placed under supervised release for a period of ten years after completing his prison term. “Words escape me.  The crime here was unimaginably horrific.  I am grateful that Judge Ezra sentenced Garcia to the maximum allowed by law.  The sexual abuse of children is a problem that our country is not doing nearly enough about.  We need to wake up,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash. “The heavy sentence imposed on Mr. Garcia sends a clear message that there are serious consequences for those who exploit children in any way,” stated Special Agent in Charge, Shane Folden, HSI San Antonio. “Targeting crimes of this nature is a high priority for HSI.  We will continue to dedicate HSI resources worldwide to identify and bring to justice these individuals.” On January 2, 2019, before Judge Ezra, Garcia pleaded guilty to one count of production of child pornography.  According to the factual basis filed in this case, which Garcia admitted was true, on multiple occasions in 2016, he chose a 16-month-old female who was unable to communicate her trauma, and sexually assaulted her while taking videos and pictures. Those videos and images were discovered after he ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-04-10
    1 week ago
  • Former Bexar County Jail Guard Sentenced to Federal Prison for Conspiring to Smuggle Narcotics to Inmates
    In San Antonio today, a federal judge sentenced a former detention officer at the Bexar County Adult Detention Center (BCADC) to 18 months in prison for his scheme to smuggle methamphetamine to inmates, announced United States Attorney John F. Bash; FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division, and Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar. In addition to the prison term, Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra ordered that 27-year-old Ruben Hernandez be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term.  “Part of our steadfast support of law enforcement is holding officers accountable when they break the laws they’re supposed to be enforcing.  It builds community trust when citizens know that there are no double standards,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash. On January 2, 2019, Hernandez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.  By pleading guilty, Hernandez admitted that from May 4, 2018, until June 22, 2018, he conspired with 30–year-old former BCADC detention officer Gabriel Robert Ortiz to smuggle methamphetamine to inmates. Both defendants were the subjects of an undercover operation carried out by federal and state authorities. “This defendant was not only willing to profit from his position of trust, but was also willing to place his peers in harm's way by undermining rules, regulations, and the law by allowing contraband into the Bexar County Detention Center,” stated FBI SAC Christopher Combs.  “The FBI will continue to work with the Bexar County Sheriff’s ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-04-09
    1 week ago
  • Former U.S.D.A. Farm Service Agency Loan Officer in Uvalde Sentenced to Two Years in Federal Prison in Farm Loan Fraud Case
    Barbara Serna Salinas, a 43-year-old former loan officer for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Uvalde, was sentenced to two years in federal prison for a farm loan fraud scheme, announced United States Attorney John Bash. During sentencing yesterday in Del Rio, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses also ordered Serna to pay $166,744.20 in restitution to the USDA and be placed on supervised release for a period of five years after completing her prison term. On June 28, 2018, Serna pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement on a loan application.  By pleading guilty, Serna admitted she issued multiple fraudulent FSA loans from May 2011 through June 2016.  Furthermore, in exchange for approving the loans, Serna accepted cash or other forms of payment from her co-defendants, Ruben James Valadez, age 44 of Uvalde, and Eric Torres Neira, age 44 of San Antonio. According to court documents, a review of USDA loans approved by Serna after 2011 identified several to Neira and Valadez, which totaled more than $150,000.  On December 4, 2018, Judge Moses sentenced Neira to five months imprisonment and ordered him to pay restitution to the USDA, joint and severally with Serna, in the amount of $142,961.94.  Valadez is currently awaiting sentencing on October 2, 2019.  Neira and Valadez pleaded guilty to the same false statement charge--Neira on March 29, 2018; Valadez on April 26, 2018. The United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General-Investigations, with the assistance of ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-04-08
    1 week ago
  • Owner of Guadalupe County Telemedicine Companies Arrested in National Health Care Fraud Takedown
    This morning, federal authorities arrested 54–year-old Christopher O’Hara, of Kingsbury, TX, without incident in connection with Health Care Fraud, bribery and kickback scheme, announced U.S. Attorney John Bash, FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Special Agent in Charge C.J. Porter, Dallas Field Office.  On Wednesday, a federal grand jury in San Antonio returned an indictment charging the owner and operator of 1stCare MD and ProfitsCentric with one count of conspiracy to pay and receive HealthCare Kickbacks.  The indictment alleges that from 2016 to 2019, O’Hara defrauded HHS in its administration and oversight of Medicare.  The indictment alleges that O’Hara conspired with others by paying and receiving kickbacks and bribes in exchange for doctors’ orders for durable medical equipment (DME) for Medicare beneficiaries. The indictment further alleges that O’Hara, 1stCare MD and ProfitsCentric, through their network of doctors, were responsible for generating thousands of doctors’ orders for DME absent of a pre-existing doctor-patient relationship, absent of a physical examination and, based solely on a short telephonic conversation.  O’Hara’s actions resulted in the submission of approximately $40 million in fraudulent Medicare claims for DME. This afternoon, a federal magistrate judge released O’Hara on a $150,000 bond.  O’Hara faces up to five years in federal prison upon conviction. Special agents with the FBI and HHS-OIG, together with investigators from the Texas Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, investigated this case.  DOJ trial attorney Kevin Lowell ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-04-08
    1 week ago
  • 12 Arrested in Connection with San Antonio-Based Heroin and Cocaine Trafficking Operation
    Federal and state authorities in the San Antonio area have arrested 12 individuals, including ringleaders Andrew Sanchez and Joe Anthony Ramirez of San Antonio, for their alleged roles in a narcotics distribution operation, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy, Houston Division. On March 20, 2019, a federal grand jury in San Antonio returned two separate indictments related to this investigation.  The first indictment charges 35-year-old Andrew Sanchez (aka “Freight,” “Hakeem”), 33-year-old Joe Anthony Ramirez (aka “Homeboy”), 37-year-old Lisa Mercado, 29-year-old Bonnie Sanchez (aka “B”), 18-year-old Rodrigo Roque (aka “Scrappy”)    and 25-year-old Angel Roque (aka “Test”)   with one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine.  The indictment also charges Andrew Sanchez, Joe Ramirez, Lisa Mercado, Bonnie Sanchez and Rodrigo Roque with one substantive count of possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin.  The indictment alleges that since May 1, 2018, this drug trafficking organization operated an on-demand delivery service for heroin on the east side of San Antonio.  This organization maintained a phone which customers called to purchase heroin, and members worked daily shifts operating this phone and delivering narcotics.  The indictment alleges that the organization sourced its narcotics from Joe Anthony Ramirez and others.  The second indictment charges Ramirez and members of his drug trafficking organization with one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine.  Ramirez DTO members include: 36-year-old Ernest Rivas (aka “Chato”), 39-year-old Roy Ramirez, Jr. (aka “Jr.”), 63-year-old Roy Ramirez, ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-03-21
    4 weeks ago
  • Federal Grand Jury Indicts San Antonio Man for Wire Fraud, Money Laundering and Tax Evasion
    In San Antonio today, federal authorities arrested Edward C. Wagner, who faces federal charges for allegedly conducting a fraudulent investment scheme and attempting to evade paying over $1 million in taxes, announced United States Attorney John F. Bash and IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Sarah Kull, Houston Field Office. The indictment charges Wagner, owner and operator of Pharmacogenetics, EcoChem, Leaf 23 and Nutrecs, with eleven counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering and six counts of tax evasion.  The indictment alleges that from June 2011 to September 2016, Wagner collected approximately $645,000 from company investors under false and fraudulent pretenses and converted it to his own personal use.  The indictment also alleges that from 2007 to 2016, Wagner willfully attempted to evade paying income tax due to the United States for those calendar years.  From 2007 through 2010, Wagner accrued a total of $744,186 in unpaid taxes and penalties based on taxable income of $1,410,112.  The indictment further alleges that Wagner intentionally disguised his actual income by hiding his sources of income, using nominee financial institution accounts, dealing extensively in cash and cashier’s checks, and creating a false loan document.  The indictment further alleges that Wagner has failed to file an income tax return for calendar years 2013 through 2016. “Our capitalist system works only when our legal rules against fraud are vigorously enforced.  That is why DOJ relentlessly pursues those who defraud investors,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash. “Wagner is charged with exploiting his investors’ trust by ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-03-21
    4 weeks ago
  • Illegal Alien Sentenced to Federal Prison for Unlawful Possession of a Semiautomatic Rifle
    In Austin today, a federal judge sentenced 27-year-old Mexican National Rolando Martinez to 106 months in federal prison for a 2017 shooting spree that resulted in five people being injured, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski, Houston Division, and Austin Police Chief Brian Manley. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ordered that Martinez pay $2,240 restitution to his victims. On December 4, 2018, Martinez pleaded guilty to one count of illegal alien in possession of a firearm.  According to court records, beginning in the early morning hours of November 4, 2017, the Austin Police Department received numerous 911 calls regarding a Hispanic male driving a black vehicle while firing a semiautomatic rifle at persons and vehicles.  Based on information provided to law enforcement, members of the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force were able to identify and apprehend the defendant that evening on outstanding warrants.  Texas Department of Public Safety troopers also located Martinez’s vehicle abandoned near Interstate 35 and East Highway 290 in Austin.  Inside the vehicle, they discovered a semiautomatic rifle which matched a description provided by victims and witnesses.  During a subsequent search of the defendant’s residence, authorities discovered a “Firearms Transfer Bill of Sale” made out to the defendant for an AR-15 with the same serial number found on the weapon seized from inside the defendant’s vehicle.  Martinez later admitted that he had been drinking at a local ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-03-21
    4 weeks ago
  • Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Member Arrested for Retaliating Against an Informant
    This morning, federal authorities arrested Albert DeLeon for his alleged role in threatening to harm a government informant, announced United States Attorney John F. Bash; Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy, Houston Division; and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division. A federal grand jury indictment, unsealed today, charges San Antonio resident Albert DeLeon, 45, with one count of retaliating against an informant. According to the indictment, on or about February 22, 2019, DeLeon, a member of the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Organization (OMO), approached an individual and threatened to harm the individual in retaliation for the individual providing information and evidence relating to the criminal activities of the Bandidos, including information provided in the case of United States v. John Portillo, Jeffrey Pike, et. al.  “The arrest of Albert Deleon sends a strong and unified message that the mere intimidation and threating of a Government witness will not be endured and those who commit these offenses will rightfully be brought to justice,” stated Will R. Glaspy, Special Agent in Charge, DEA.  “Unlawful coercion, intimidation or threats against an individual, who cooperates with or testifies on behalf of the Government, will not be tolerated,” stated Christopher Combs, Special Agent in Charge, FBI. DeLeon appeared this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Elizabeth S. Chestney and remains in federal custody.  Upon conviction, DeLeon faces up to 20 years in federal prison.  On May 17, 2018, after a nearly three-month trial, jurors convicted Pike, the National ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-03-06
    1 month ago
  • Shooter in 2014 Midland Homicide Pleads Guilty to Federal Firearms Charge
    In Midland today, 39-year-old Odessa, TX, resident Noe Garcia Galan pleaded guilty to a federal firearms charge in connection with the murder of Sean Michael Lamb in 2014, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; FBI Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie, Jr., El Paso Division; and, Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke. Appearing before U.S. District Judge David Counts, Galan pleaded guilty to one count of murder resulting from the use and discharge of a firearm during a drug trafficking offense.  By pleading guilty, Galan admitted that on May 13, 2014, he fatally shot Lamb.  According to court records, Galan and others were responsible for the abduction and death of Lamb because they suspected that Lamb and others had stolen a large amount of “crystal” methamphetamine from co-defendants Liz Hernandez and her brother, Ruben James Hernandez.  “Along with our law-enforcement partners, we seek justice for all victims of crime.  I am pleased that we were able to obtain a guilty plea in this case and I look forward to sentencing,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash. Ruben Hernandez, age 38 of Odessa, remains a fugitive in this case.  Liz Hernandez, age 39 of Odessa, is currently serving a 20-year federal prison sentence after pleading guilty to one count of murder during the course of a drug trafficking crime.  Her 22-year-old son, Brian Hernandez, is back in federal custody after violating conditions of his supervised release, including failing a drug test.  In February 2017, Hernandez completed his 41-month federal prison term after he pleaded ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-02-26
    2 months ago
  • Three Arrested in San Antonio and Charged Federally with Meth Trafficking
    In San Antonio today, authorities filed a federal criminal complaint against three San Antonio residents who were arrested last night while attempting to distribute over four kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, announced U.S. Attorney John Bash and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy, Houston Division.  The complaint charges 18–year-old Rabbi Lee Ponce, 18–year-old Rudy Aragon, and 30–year-old Mercedes Trinidad, with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.  According to the complaint, federal and state authorities arranged for an undercover drug deal with Ponce who agreed to sell multiple kilograms of crystal methamphetamine.  Ponce, along with Aragon, arrived at the agreed location last night followed shortly thereafter by Trinidad.  After a canine unit alerted on Trinidad’s car, authorities recovered approximately 4.6 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine from inside her vehicle. All three defendants remain in federal custody pending detention hearings in U.S. Magistrate Court in San Antonio.  Upon conviction, the defendants face between ten year and life in federal prison. The DEA is investigating this case together with the Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean O’Connell is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.     It is important to note that a criminal complaint is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt.  The defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-02-25
    2 months ago
  • Former Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo Sentenced to Federal Prison
    In San Antonio this morning, a federal judge sentenced Former Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo to 30 months imprisonment on federal bribery and income tax related charges, announced U.S. Attorney John Bash; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division; and, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Goss, Houston Field Office.  In addition to the prison term, Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra ordered that Galindo, 55 of Selma, TX, pay $876,000 restitution and be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term.  Judge Ezra allowed Galindo to remain on bond pending notification by the Bureau of Prisons where to surrender to begin serving his prison term. “Today’s sentence is another example of this office’s determination to root out public corruption in Texas government,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash. “The sentence handed down today demonstrates San Antonio FBI’s firm commitment to work with our law enforcement partners to address public corruption and hold corrupt officials in Reeves County and other jurisdictions accountable,” stated San Antonio FBI SAC Combs.  “While the vast majority of elected and appointed officials faithfully serve the interests of the public, there are some who violate the public’s trust, and serve their personal interests instead.” On June 12, 2017, Galindo, pleaded guilty to a criminal Information charging one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of failure to file income tax returns.  Galindo served as County Judge ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-02-25
    2 months ago
  • Federal Complaint Filed Against San Diego Man for Temple Bank Robbery
    In Waco, 49–year-old Ronnie Lee Tanner, Jr., of San Diego, CA, remains in federal custody charged with robbing a Wells Fargo Bank branch located in Temple, TX, on Wednesday, announced United States Attorney John F. Bash, FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division, and Temple Police Chief Floyd O. Mitchell. A federal criminal complaint unsealed today alleges that on the afternoon of February 20, 2019, Tanner entered the bank located on South 31st Street, handed a robbery note to a teller, then exited the bank with approximately $4,000.  Acting on information supplied by the public, Temple Police officers were able to locate Tanner and arrest him without incident yesterday.  Tanner faces up to 20 years in federal prison upon conviction. He remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for 1:30pm on March 4, 2019, in federal court in Waco.   The FBI, together with the Temple Police Department, is investigating this case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Gloff is prosecuting the case on behalf of the Government. It is important to note that a complaint is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-02-21
    2 months ago
  • San Antonio Area Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Pleads Guilty for Her Role in $8 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme
    In San Antonio this morning, 45-year-old former pharmaceutical representative Holly Blakely, of San Antonio, TX, pleaded guilty for her role in an $8 million health care fraud scheme that netted her over $1 million, announced U.S. Attorney John Bash and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division. Appearing before Senior U.S. District Judge Fred Biery, Blakely pleaded guilty to one conspiracy to commit wire fraud, health care fraud, bribery, and paying kickbacks.  Blakely faces up to five years in federal prison.  She remains on bond pending sentencing scheduled for June 13, 2019, in San Antonio.  Blakely was charged in a thirty-count indictment and had been scheduled to begin trial February 25, 2019. As part of her plea, Blakely admitted her role in a scheme to defraud health care benefit programs by paying over $400,000 in kickbacks and bribes to health care providers that prescribed compounded medications to individuals who did not need the medications. Blakely and her co-conspirators attempted to disguise the kickbacks and bribes to health care professionals by writing fictitious and back-dated “consulting agreements.” In many instances, Blakely and her co-conspirators submitted prescriptions to compounding pharmacies for patients that had never seen a medical professional.  Moreover, Blakely and her co-conspirators would occasionally forge the signature of a medical professional on prescriptions.  Blakely admitted that she conspired with two compounding pharmacies that would submit claims for reimbursement to health care benefit programs, including TRICARE, for compounded medications based on the prescriptions.  In exchange for her role ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-02-20
    2 months ago
  • Fredericksburg Woman Sentenced to Federal Prison on Bank Fraud Charge
    In San Antonio today, a federal judge sentenced 52-year-old Stacey A. Sanders, the former office manager of Memorial Presbyterian Church, located in Fredericksburg, TX, to 27 months imprisonment in connection with a scheme to write and sign unauthorized checks on the church’s bank accounts, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez ordered Sanders to pay a total of $420,306.69 in restitution, $20,219.43 to Security State Bank and $400,087.26 to Memorial Presbyterian Church.  Judge Rodriguez also ordered that Sanders be placed on supervised release for a period of five years after completing her prison term.  Judge Rodriguez allowed Sanders to remain on bond pending notification from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons regarding the date and location to report in order to begin serving her prison term, to be no later than May 31, 2019. On March 22, 2018, Sanders pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud.  By pleading guilty, Sanders admitted that without authorization she moved large sums of money from the church’s trust account to its operating account on numerous occasions by writing forged checks on the trust account and depositing them in the operating account.  In so doing, Defendant eventually depleted the trust account as its balance went from $194,439.23 in 2009 to $178 by December 2016.  Defendant then wrote herself numerous, unauthorized, forged checks from the operating account from the latter part of 2009 to December 2016.  To conceal ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-02-19
    2 months ago
  • Former Presidio County Officials Sentenced to Federal Prison on Bribery Related Charge
    In Pecos today, a federal judge sentenced two former Presidio County officials–67-year-old Carlos Eduardo Nieto and 57-year-old Lorenzo Padilla Hernandez–to 30 months and 24 months imprisonment, respectively, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and FBI Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie, Jr., El Paso Division.  In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge David Counts ordered each defendant to pay a $10,000 fine and be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing their prison terms.  Judge Counts also ordered that Hernandez forfeit to the government $19,800; Nieto, $8,300.  Judge Counts allowed both defendants to remain on bond pending notification from the U.S. Bureau of Prison regarding the date and location to report to in order to begin serving their prison terms. On October 23, 2018, Nieto, former Special Projects Coordinator for the City of Presidio and former Presidio Independent School District trustee, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and deprivation of honest services.  By pleading guilty, Nieto admitted that he and Hernandez, former Presidio County Precinct 3 Commissioner, conspired since May 10, 2016, to defraud Presidio County and its citizens of money by corruptly ensuring, through their positions and influence, that a particular company would be awarded a County contract for a document management system.  Hernandez and Nieto solicited and received $19,800 and $8,300, respectively, for their efforts.  On May 9, 2017, Hernandez voted to award the contract to that particular company.  On August 3, 2018, Hernandez ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-02-18
    2 months ago
  • Former Bexar County Jail Guard Sentenced to Three Years in Federal Prison for Conspiring to Smuggle Contraband to Inmates
    In San Antonio today, a former detention officer at the Bexar County Adult Detention Center (BCADC) was sentenced to three years in federal prison for a scheme to smuggle methamphetamine to inmates, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division, and Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar. In addition to the prison term, Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra ordered that 30-year-old Gabriel Robert Ortiz be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term.  On November 20, 2018, Ortiz pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.  By pleading guilty, Ortiz admitted that he and his co-defendant, 27–year-old former BCADC officer Ruben Hernandez, carried out their attempted smuggling scheme from May 4, 2018, until June 22, 2018.  Both defendants were the subjects of an undercover operation carried out by federal and state authorities. Hernandez pleaded guilty to the same conspiracy charge on January 2, 2019.  He faces up to 20 years in federal prison.  Sentencing is scheduled for April 8, 2019.  “This sentence shows that members of law enforcement who violate the law will be held to the same standards as any other citizens,” stated U.S. Attorney John Bash. “I am glad to see that justice was served in this case, and I am proud to have partnered with the FBI on this sting operation. As I’ve stated in the past officer misconduct will not be tolerated within my ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-02-18
    2 months ago
  • Judge Sentences Businessman for Wire Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft
    In San Antonio this morning, 53-year-old Reynaldo “Sonny” Jesus Peralez, owner and operator of Bohannon Oil Services, L.L.C., was sentenced for scheming to defraud investors of over $3.5 million dollars by routing false and fraudulent investment into trucks and transportation involved in the transport of fracking sands and for stealing the identity of one of his victims to further his fraudulent schemes announced United States Attorney John F. Bash and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division. Chief United States District Judge Orlando L. Garcia sentenced Peralez to 75 months imprisonment followed by a three year supervised release term.  Judge Garcia also ordered Peralez to pay $3,599,105 in restitution. On April 30, 2018, Peralez pleded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.  By pleading guilty to the charges, Peralez admitted to knowingly engaging in a scheme to defraud investors and knowingly possess and use the identification of another person.  According to court documents, Peralez was the owner and operator of Bohannon Oil Services, L.L.C.   Through his company, Peralez made false and fraudulent representations to prospective investors indicating his company needed additional trucks to haul frac sand in order to fulfill contracts he had with oilfield services companies.  In fact, Peralez had no such contracts with the companies.  Peralez then grossly inflated the value of trucks, which he purchased with investor funds, and kept the remaining funds for his own personal use.  Peralez sent investors emails that ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-02-13
    2 months ago
  • Former Jourdanton Bank Teller Sentenced to Prison for Bank Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft and False Statement on Income Tax Return
    In San Antonio today, a federal judge sentenced a Poteet, TX, woman to 61 months in federal prison for a scheme to steal more than $830,000 from a bank in Jourdanton, announced United States Attorney John F. Bash, Acting IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Ramsey Covington, Houston Field Office, and U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Paul A. Duran, San Antonio Field Office. In addition to the prison term, Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra ordered 31-year-old Jennifer Trevino to pay $821,579.18 in restitution for bank fraud plus.  Judge Ezra also ordered that Trevino be placed under supervised release for a period of five years after completing her prison term and as a special condition of her supervised release, she must pay the tax loss amount to the IRS which is currently estimated to be more than $187,000. On May 30, 2018, Trevino pleaded guilty to three counts of bank fraud, one count of Aggravated Identity Theft and one count of making a false statement on a federal income tax return.  According to court records, Trevino was employed by First Commerce Bank (formerly Jourdanton State Bank) first as a teller, then as a Loan Specialist.  By pleading guilty, Trevino admitted to making unauthorized cash withdrawals from FCB accounts, without the knowledge of the account holders, and depositing the funds into accounts which she controlled.  Trevino also admitted that she underreported her total income on her 2016 Individual Income Tax Return by more than $330,000. “An important mission ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-02-11
    2 months ago
  • Jury Convicts Round Rock Man for Kidnapping Two Sisters in December 2017 and Federal Sex Offenses Involving a Minor
    In Austin today, a federal jury convicted 45-year-old Terry Allen Miles for kidnapping two minors and taking them to Colorado, announced United States Attorney John F. Bash, and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division and Round Rock Police Chief Allen Banks. Jurors found Miles guilty on two counts of kidnapping, one count of transporting a minor with intent to engage in sex with her, and one count of interstate travel with intent to engage in sex with a minor.  Evidence presented during trial revealed on December 30, 2017, Round Rock (TX) Police (RRPD) officers conducted a welfare check at the residence of Tonya Ellen Bates because she had not shown up for work that day as expected.  The officers subsequently discovered Bates’s body inside the residence.  Bates was the only individual at the residence at the time of the welfare check and Bates’s 2017 Hyundai Accent was missing.  Further investigation revealed that Miles, who had lived with Bates and her two young daughters, may have kidnapped the daughters, whose whereabouts were unknown.  Bates’ death was ruled a homicide by blunt force trauma.  Testimony at trial indicated that Miles likely killed Bates by bludgeoning her on the head with a heavy flashlight. DNA evidence indicated that Bates’ blood was found on one of Miles’ sneakers. RRPD officers obtained cell phone information on the children’s two phones.  One of the phones was located in a heavily wooded area adjacent to a Wal-Mart store located in Round ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-02-11
    2 months ago
  • Former State Senator Carlos Uresti Sentenced to Federal Prison for Bribery
    In San Antonio this afternoon, a federal judge sentenced former District 19 Texas State Senator Carlos I. Uresti to five years in federal prison for bribery, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs. Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra ordered that the five-year prison term run concurrent to the 12-year federal prison sentence he handed down to Uresti in the Fourwinds case on June 26, 2018.  Judge Ezra also ordered that Uresti pay restitution in the amount of $876,000 and that he be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term.  Judge Ezra also ordered that Uresti surrender to federal authorities next Tuesday to begin serving his prison term. “This sentence makes clear that we will not tolerate corruption by elected officials.  It is one of my top priorities to root out corruption in Texas government,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash. On October 12, 2018, Uresti pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.  By pleading guilty, Uresti admitted that from January 2006 to September 2016, he conspired with others to facilitate the payment of bribes to former Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo in exchange for Judge Galindo’s official actions concerning a Reeves County Correctional Center medical services contract.  Uresti further admitted to collecting $10,000 a month as a marketing consultant.  Approximately half of that sum was then given to Judge Galindo as a facilitation of the bribe and for his support to award ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-02-11
    2 months ago
  • Federal Judge in Del Rio Sentences Three Men to Prison for Multi-Million Dollar Investment Scheme
    In Del Rio this week, a federal judge sentenced a Del Rio man and two other men to federal prison for conducting an advanced fee investment scheme through which they obtained in excess of $5 million from their victims, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and F.B.I. Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses sentenced Kelly Ray Coronado, 51, of Del Rio, to 51 months in federal prison.  Judge Moses also sentenced co-defendants James Edward Cox, 59 of Waxhaw, NC, and Gordon Richard Moskowitz, 55, of Sarasota, FL, to 78 months imprisonment and 46 months imprisonment, respectively.  In addition to the prison terms, Judge Moses ordered Cox and Coronado to forfeit to the government their respective residences which were used to conceal the illicit proceeds gained from their scheme and to pay, joint and severally, $4,249,478 in restitution to their victims.  Judge Moses also ordered Moskowitz liable, along with Cox and Coronado, for $3.1 million of the total restitution in this case. Cox and Coronado pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; Moskowitz, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.  The defendants admitted that from January 2010 to January 2017, they implemented a high-yield investment scheme to obtain money from multiple victims under false pretenses, promises and representations.  Furthermore, they preyed on vulnerable parties – most of whom operated international non-profits – by promising them large-scale financing in exchange for upfront payments.  Using a tapestry of deceit ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-02-07
    2 months ago
  • Del Rio Man Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison for Possession of Child Pornography
    In Del Rio, a federal judge sentenced 51-year-old Timothy Robert Beasley to ten years in federal prison for possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden, San Antonio. Yesterday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses sentenced Beasley to the prison term followed by ten years of supervised release and ordered that he pay $20,000 restitution to his victims. On December 15, 2015, HSI agents executed a search warrant at Beasley’s residence and seized several home computers, related media and cell phones.  A subsequent forensics examination of the seized materials revealed the presence of more than 120 videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit activity.  On November 30, 2016, Beasley pleaded guilty to the child pornography possession charge.  “Protecting children from predators who seek to exploit them is always a priority for Homeland Security Investigations and our law enforcement partners,” said Special Agent in Charge, Shane Folden, HSI San Antonio. “Child exploitation is a global issue that takes many forms and directly impacts the United States and our communities.” HSI agents in Del Rio conducted this investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Watters prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.  This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-02-07
    2 months ago
  • Leakey Man Arrested and Charged with Production of Child Pornography
    In San Antonio this morning, federal and state authorities arrested 36-year-old U.S. Border Patrol Agent Vernon Lee Millican of Leakey, Texas, for production of child pornography, announced United States Attorney John F. Bash; FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division; and Special Agent in Charge Javy Pedroza, Department of Homeland Security – Office of Inspector General, El Paso Office. A federal criminal complaint filed today charged the defendant with one count of production of child pornography. Upon conviction, Millican faces up to 30 years in federal prison. He remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing expected to occur next week in U.S. Magistrate Court in San Antonio.   The FBI and DHS-OIG are investigating this case. U.S. Customs and Border Protection – Office of Professional Responsibility and the Real County Sheriff’s Office provided valuable assistance with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Thompson is prosecuting the case on behalf of the Government. It is important to note that a complaint is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2019-01-31
    3 months ago
  • Midland Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison for Attempting to Entice a Child, Distribution of Child Pornography and Attempted Cocaine Distribution
    In Midland, 44-year-old Jose Alonso Zubia was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release for attempting to entice a minor into engaging in sexual activity, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; F.B.I. Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie, Jr., and Interim Midland Police Chief Seth Herman. At sentencing yesterday afternoon, U.S. District Judge David Counts also ordered that the Midland resident pay a $10,000 special assessment to the Crime Victims Fund. On July 23, 2018, Zubia pleaded guilty to one count of attempted enticement of a minor, one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.    According to court records, on May 1, 2018, federal and local law enforcement authorities arrested Zubia when he arrived at a location to have a sexual encounter with a 14 year old he met online and the minor’s 12-year-old friend.  At the time, Zubia was in possession of cocaine, which he admitted he intended to provide to the minors.  Zubia also admitted that he had previously sent videos depicting child pornography to the 14 year old. “The sentencing of Zubia is an affirmation of the dedication, commitment, and hard work of the F.B.I. and the Midland Police Department to work diligently in keeping the Midland Community safe.  The F.B.I. will continue to seek out, investigate and prosecute those individuals that target children for sexual enticement,” stated F.B.I. Special Agent in Charge Buie. The F.B.I. and the Midland Police Department investigated ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-12-06
    4 months ago
  • Wife of Former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer in El Paso Sentenced to Federal Prison
    In El Paso, a former U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer’s wife, who fled the country prior to sentencing on federal drug trafficking and bribery charges in 2010, was sentenced to 132 months in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie, Jr., of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), El Paso Division; Special Agent in Charge Kyle Williamson of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), El Paso Division; and, Special Agent in Charge Javy Pedroza of the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) in El Paso. During sentencing yesterday, Senior U.S. District Judge David Briones also ordered 41-year-old Ana Marie Hernandez to pay a $100,000 money judgment. On June 21, 2010, the legal permanent resident in the U.S. pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to import a controlled substance and one count of aiding and abetting the bribery of a public official.  By pleading guilty, Hernandez admitted that between June 2005 and October 2005, she conspired with others, including her husband, former DHS Customs and Border Protection officer Daniel Ledezma, to allow hundreds of kilograms of cocaine into the U.S. without inspection through the Paso de Norte Port of Entry.  For their actions, Hernandez and Ledezma received more than $100,000 in U.S. Currency.  An arrest warrant was issued for Hernandez when she failed to appear for sentencing on January 24, 2011.  On October 3, 2018, Hernandez was extradited from Mexico to El Paso.  She has since remained in federal ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-12-06
    4 months ago
  • Del Rio Woman Sentenced to Federal Prison for Attempting to Smuggle Heroin and Methamphetamine into the United States
    In Del Rio today, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses sentenced 41–year–old Ana Dellanira Rodarte to 17 years in federal prison for attempting to smuggle over 1.3 kilograms of heroin and 7.5 kilograms of methamphetamine into the country, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden. In addition to the prison term, Judge Moses ordered that Rodarte pay a $2,000 fine and be placed on supervised release for a period of five years after completing her prison term. On April 23, 2018, Rodarte pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to import heroin.  By pleading guilty, Rodarte admitted that she arranged for the load of narcotics inside her own car to be driven across the U.S. border with Mexico.  On March 5, 2016, inspectors at the Del Rio Port of Entry discovered the methamphetamine inside the vehicle’s battery.  They also located the heroin in two antifreeze containers inside the vehicle.  The driver of Rodarte’s vehicle at the time, Jasmin Medina Ramos of Del Rio, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import methamphetamine.  Last year, Judge Moses sentenced her to 135 months in federal prison ordered her to pay a $1,500 fine.  A third defendant charged in this case, Jose Carlos Trevino of Del Rio, was sentenced to 121 months in federal prison and fined $3,000 last year after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. HSI Del Rio conducted this investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd R. Keagle prosecuted this ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-12-03
    5 months ago
  • Illegal Alien Smuggler Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison
    In Del Rio yesterday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses sentenced 43–year–old citizen of Mexico Hector Aguilar-Portugal to ten years imprisonment for his role in an illegal alien smuggling operation that resulted in death, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden; and, U.S. Border Patrol Agent in Charge Felix Chavez, Del Rio Sector. On August 10, 2017, Aguilar pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens.  According to court records, in October 2014, Aguilar led three other illegal aliens into the U.S. north of Eagle Pass, Texas.  Among the group was a former inmate Aguilar-Portugal had met while in prison in Pecos, TX, in 2012, as well as the man’s nephew.  During their journey, the four were intercepted by U.S. Border Patrol agents.  As they fled from the agents, the defendant and the others crossed a canal.  During the crossing, the nephew drowned.  Following the drowning, the uncle separated from the defendant and the other illegal alien.  The uncle eventually made it to a highway where he surrendered to Border Patrol agents and told them of the drowning.  Agents were able to recover the body of the deceased.  Agents were also able to arrest the defendant and the other illegal alien.  While at the Eagle Pass South Border Patrol station, the uncle saw Aguilar-Portugal being escorted into the processing area.  The uncle identified Aguilar-Portugal as the individual he paid a $500 smuggling fee up front and an agreed ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-11-19
    5 months ago
  • Federal Prison Sentences Handed Down for “Crack” Cocaine and Methamphetamine Trafficking Operation In and Around Taylor, TX
    In Austin today, a federal judge sentenced 17 individuals, including ringleader Horace Lee Caruther, for their alleged roles in a narcotics distribution ring operating in and around the Taylor, TX, area announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy, Houston Division. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel sentenced: Horace Lee Caruther, age 43 of Round Rock, TX, to 210 months in federal prison; William Collins (aka “Bugs”), age 62 of Taylor, TX, to 87 months in federal prison; Trevor Deshaun Hunt, age 26 of Taylor, to 57 months in federal prison; Gregory Bean, Jr., age 45 of Pflugerville, TX, to 15 months in federal prison; Robert Carl White, age 39 of Temple, TX, to 77 months in federal prison; Angel Amado Rodriguez, age 24 of Austin, to 188 months in federal prison; Kenneth Xavier Garza, age 23 of Austin, to 60 months in federal prison; Esmerelda Rodriguez, age 23 of Austin, to three years probation; Salomon Orozco-Benitez (aka “Viejito”), age 34 of Austin, to 168 months in federal prison; Elias Montiel, age 27 of Sanford, NC, to 46 months in federal prison; Federico Alvarez-Mendoza, age 37 of Cameron, NC, to 30 months in federal prison; David Ibarra, age 26 of Broadway, NC, to 30 months in federal prison; Miguel Benitez-Benitez (aka “Daniel Sanchez Benitez”), age 39 of Pflugerville, to 262 months in federal prison; Sandra Parra-Velez (aka “La Coyota”), age 34 of Austin, to 70 months in federal prison;   Jose Parra-Martinez ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-11-19
    5 months ago
  • Austin Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Firearms Smuggling Scheme
    In Austin today, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman sentenced 28–year–old Austin resident Tyler Carlson to 70 months imprisonment followed by two years of supervised release for his role in a firearms smuggling scheme involving machineguns and assault weapons, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Fred J. Milanowski, Houston Division; Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden; and, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Inspector in Charge Adrian Gonzalez, Houston Division. On April 23, 2018, Carlson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate multiple U.S. laws, including illegal exportation of munitions and unlawful possession and transfer of machineguns.  Carlson also pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a machinegun.  According to court documents, Carlson conspired with others to violate multiple federal firearms laws, including possessing and transferring unregistered machineguns and unlawfully exporting firearms to Mexico. Carlson worked with others to acquire and unlawfully smuggle 200 firearms, including .50 caliber rifles, and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition to Mexico.   Court documents also reflect that Carlson worked with 69–year–old former law enforcement officer and federal firearms licensee Michael Fox of Georgetown, TX, to illegally acquire multiple M-134G Minigun machineguns.  The M-134G is a six-barrel rotary machine gun that can fire between 2,000 and 6,000 rounds of ammunition per minute. Fox, a co-defendant, contacted 63–year–old Tracy Garwood, another co-defendant and owner of the M-134G manufacturer Garwood Industries in Arizona, who agreed to help with ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-11-15
    5 months ago
  • Two Sentenced to Federal Prison for Roles in Fraud and Racketeering Schemes that Involved the Attempted Capital Murder of State District Court Judge Julie Kocurek
    In Austin today, a federal judge sentenced 29-year-old Marcellus Antoine Burgin of Cypress, TX, and 27-year-old Rasul Kareem Scott of Marrero, LA, to 300 months and 210 months in federal prison, respectively, for carrying out fraud and racketeering schemes that involved the attempted capital murder of State District Court Judge Julie Kocurek in November of 2015.  That announcement was made by U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore; FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs; IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Goss, Houston Field Office; Austin Police Chief Brian Manley; and, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Inspector in Charge Adrian Gonzalez, Houston Division. In addition to the prison terms, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ordered that Burgin and Scott be placed under supervised release for a period of five years and pay restitution, joint and severally, in the amount of $22,315.80.  In November 2017, Burgin and Scott pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statue.  Evidence presented during trial earlier this year for their co-defendant--31-year-old Chimene Hamilton Onyeri--revealed that in November 2015, all three defendants conspired to commit various fraudulent schemes for financial gain in Austin, Houston, the state of Louisiana and surrounding areas.  Schemes included converting stolen debit card numbers obtained from skimming devices into cash.  The Onyeri racketeering enterprise involved mail fraud, bribery of a public official, wire fraud, document fraud, access device fraud, money laundering and attempted murder.  According to testimony, when the existence of ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-11-12
    5 months ago
  • Former El Paso C.B.P. Inspector Pleads Guilty to Federal Wire Fraud Charge
    In El Paso, a 44-year-old former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Inspector faces up to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a wire fraud charge in relation to schemes to defraud numerous legal and illegal aliens, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Jack P. Staton. Appearing before United States District Judge Kathleen Cardone yesterday afternoon, El Paso resident Federico Garcia, Jr., admitted that from November 2015 to May 2018, he fraudulently presented himself as an immigration attorney and charged various fees to unwitting victims for assistance with applying for immigration benefits.  Garcia, who is not a licensed attorney, carried out his scheme under the business names “Justice International” and “High End Immigrant Resource Center.”  Garcia’s scheme also included fraudulently soliciting victims to invest their money in business ventures that would provide large returns to those individuals. Garcia, who remains in federal custody, is scheduled to be sentenced at 10:00am on January 17, 2019, before Judge Cardone in El Paso. HSI El Paso’s Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF) investigated this case.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patricia Aguayo, Debra Kanof and Stephen Garcia are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-11-08
    5 months ago
  • San Antonio Man Admits to Stealing Approximately $479K from Multiple Banks
    In San Antonio today, 42-year-old Dennis Edward Stephen, pleaded guilty in federal court to robbing multiple San Antonio banks and stealing approximately $479,000, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash, F.B.I. Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division, and San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.  Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Bemporad, Stephen pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery.  By pleading guilty, Stephen admitted responsibility for eight different bank robberies in San Antonio and the surrounding area between November 14, 2013, and July 23, 2018.   The robberies include: November 14, 2013; April 17, 2014; and September 19, 2014 – Frost Bank on Vance Jackson Rd. – approximately $37,604; $36,280; and $133,000 stolen, respectively; November 24, 2015 – Broadway Bank in Helotes, TX – approximately $11,323 stolen; June 16, 2016 – Frost Bank on Wurzbach Rd. – approximately $56,077 stolen; November 4, 2016; July 5, 2017; and July 23, 2018 – Frost Bank on N. Loop 1604 – approximately $67,000; $101,000; and $36,561 stolen, respectively.  According to court records, authorities dubbed Stephen the “Camry Cruzin’ Bandit” because he drove a Toyota Camry during his scheme and often wore the same attire while committing the robberies:  blue jeans, a denim long sleeve button down shirt, a white t-shirt and a UTSA Roadrunners baseball cap covering his head, sunglasses and a surgical mask covering his face, and rubber surgical gloves covering his hands.  Authorities arrested Stephen on July 23, 2018, following the Frost Bank robbery.  He has since remained in ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-11-07
    5 months ago
  • Leader of Cartel Del Noreste and Nephew of Los Zetas Leaders Z-40 and Z-42 Receives Two Consecutive Life Sentences Plus 20 Years in Federal Prison
    In Waco today, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses sentenced 38-year-old Juan Francisco “Kiko” Trevino Chavez, nephew of Los Zetas leaders Miguel Angel Trevino Morales (Z-40) and Oscar Omar Trevino Morales (Z-42), to two consecutive life imprisonment sentences plus 20 years in federal prison. In addition to the prison terms, Judge Moses ordered that Trevino pay a $2 Million fine and a $2 Million money judgment. That announcement was made by U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), San Antonio Division; Special Agent in Charge Tamera Cantu, IRS—Criminal Investigation, Dallas Division; Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Houston Division; Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), Houston Division; and, Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, FBI, San Antonio Division. On July 24, 2018, a jury convicted the defendant on one count each of conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute, conspiracy to import marijuana, unlawful distribution of controlled substances (extra-territorial), conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Evidence presented at trial revealed that from 2004 until September 2016, the defendant was a member of the Los Zetas, a transnational drug trafficking organization operating primarily in the Mexican corridors of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Ciudad Acuna and Piedras Negras, Coahuila.  Evidence further revealed that Kiko Trevino worked with and conspired with the highest ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-11-07
    5 months ago
  • Man who Robbed Bank in Stanton of Approximately $200,000 Sentenced to Federal Prison
    This week a federal judge sentenced 59-year-old Jose Cruz Iglesias of Midland to 78 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for stealing approximately $200,000 from the Community National Bank in Stanton, TX, on December 23, 2016, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and F.B.I. Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie, Jr., El Paso Division.    During sentencing on Monday in Midland, U.S. District Judge David Counts also ordered Iglesias to pay $197,883 restitution to the bank.    On September 17, 2018, Iglesias pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery.  Iglesias admittedly robbed bank tellers while brandishing a revolver.   Iglesias has remained in federal custody since being arrested by F.B.I. agents in Odessa on June 22, 2018. The F.B.I., together with the Stanton and Midland Police Departments, investigated this case.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys William F. Lewis prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-11-06
    5 months ago
  • Judge Sentences Businessman for Defrauding the City of San Antonio with Respect to an Alamodome Janitorial Services Contract
    In San Antonio this morning, 54-year-old Geoffrey Comstock, owner and operator of the Frio Nevado Corporation (Frio Nevado), was sentenced on his conviction for overbilling the City of San Antonio by more than $350,000 for janitorial services at the Alamodome announced United States Attorney John F. Bash and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden.United States District Judge David C. Guaderrama sentenced Comstock to 25 months imprisonment followed by a three year supervised release term. Judge Guaderrama also ordered Comstock to pay $358,454 in restitution.On December 13, 2017, a jury convicted Comstock of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and six substantive counts of wire fraud. Testimony during trial revealed that from 2002 to 2016 Frio Nevado had a contract to provide janitorial services to the City of San Antonio at the Alamodome on a daily basis and for special events. Between June 2014 and January 2016 Comstock implemented a scheme to submit fraudulent invoices to the City of San Antonio that inflated the number of man hours of janitorial work performed at the Alamodome. A contract review in 2016 by the City of San Antonio Financial Department revealed that in July 2015 Comstock began preparing, or directed other employees to prepare and submit, timesheets that did not accurately reflect the names of employees, number of employees, or number of man hours expended to justify the previously submitted false invoices. Based upon those fraudulent invoices the City of San Antonio overpaid Frio Nevado by more ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-11-04
    5 months ago
  • Statement by U.S. Attorney John F. Bash Relating to November 2018 Elections
    U.S. Attorney John F. Bash announced today that Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Matthew B. Devlin will lead the efforts of his Office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 6, 2018, general election.  AUSA Devlin has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the Western District of Texas, and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington. U.S. Attorney Bash said, “Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and the election process must be free from fraud and manipulation.  The Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election process.” The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls, and combating these violations whenever and wherever they occur.  The Department’s long-standing Election Day Program furthers these goals, and also seeks to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact within the Department for the public to report possible election fraud and voting rights violations while the polls are open on Election Day. Federal law protects against such crimes as intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, impersonating voters, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input.  It also contains special protections for the ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-10-30
    6 months ago
  • El Abogado de los Estados Unidos John F. Bash Anuncia Sobre las Elecciones de Noviembre 2018
    El Abogado de los Estados Unidos John F. Bash anunció hoy que Matthew B. Devlin, Assistente Abogado del los Estados Unidos (AUSA, por sus siglas en inglés) se encarga del esfuerzo de la Oficina en conexión con el Programa Nacional del Día de Elecciones del Departamento de Justicia para las elecciones generales del 6° de noviembre, 2018. AUSA Devlin ha sido designado de servir como el Oficial del Distrito de Elecciones (DEO, por sus siglas en inglés) para el Distrito Oeste de Tejas, y será responsable de supervisar las quejas sobre fraude electoral y abusos de derechos de votar en consulto con el Departamento de Justicia Central en Washington. Abogado Bash dijo, “Todos ciudadanos deben de poder votar sin interferencia o discriminación y el proceso electoral debe de estar libre de fraude y manipulación.” El Departamento de Justicia tiene el rol importante de disuadir fraude electoral y discriminación en las urnas, y de combatir las violaciones cuando y donde quiera ocurren. Más, el objetivo del Programa Nacional del Día de Elecciones del Departamento busca aseguración de la confidencia del público de la integridad del proceso electoral por proporcionando contactos locales dentro el Departamento para que el público pueda reportar actos de fraude electoral y violaciones de derechos de votar mientras estén disponibles las urnas el Día Electoral. La ley federal protege en contra crímenes de intimidación o sobornar votadores, comprando y vendiendo votos, imitar votador, modificar la cuenta de votaciones, votar en urnas múltiples, y marcar la boleta de votación ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-10-30
    6 months ago
  • Killeen Husband and Wife Plead Guilty to Federal Child Exploitation Charges
    United States Attorney John F. Bash, Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Paul Duran, and Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that 26-year-old Christopher Almaguer and his wife, 27-year-old Sarah Rashelle Almaguer, of Killeen pled guilty today in Waco, Texas, to one count of sexual exploitation of children and one count of production of child pornography. The Almaguers each face a mandatory minimum term of 15 years up to 30 years in federal prison on each count.Appearing before United States Magistrate Judge Jeffrey C. Manske, the Almaguers admitted that in December 2017 they uploaded sexually explicit videos of themselves sexually assaulting children as young as eight months old. According to court records investigators compiled a list of approximately 25 potential minor child victims, ranging in age from infants to fourteen years of age, from the Central Texas area.The Almaguers have remained in custody since their arrests by investigators with the Texas Office of Attorney General, Child Exploitation Unit, and special agents with the United States Secret Service in February 2018. Sentencing has been scheduled before United States District Judge Alan D. Albright for January 29, 2019.This case was investigated by the Texas Office of the Attorney General, Criminal Investigations Division, Child Exploitation Unit, the United States Secret Service and the Killeen Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Gregory S. Gloff is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-10-29
    6 months ago
  • Tres Ex-Oficiales de Crystal City, Tejas Condenados a Prisión Federal por Esquema de Soborno
    Anunciaron el Abogado de los Estados Unidos John F. Bash y Christopher Combs, Agente Especial en cargo de la Oficina de Investigaciones Federales (FBI, por sus siglas en inglés) que hoy en Del Rio, la juez Alia Moses condenó a tres ex–oficiales de Crystal City en conexión con una esquema de soborno. Juez Moses condenó al ex-Alcalde Interino Rogelio Mata, ex–Concejal de la Ciudad Roel Mata, y ex–Concejal de la Ciudad Gilbert Urrabazo a 33 meses, 21 meses, y 24 meses respectivamente. Juez Moses ordenó que los tres demandaos servirán tres años de supervisión después de servir su sentencia penal individualmente. Más, Juez Moses ordenó que los tres pagaran una multa de $2,000 y ordenó juicio de perdida de $11,291.73 en efectivo. El juicio de perdida representa la perdición de varios sobornos, cuales fueron recibidos de parte del co-demandado William James Jonas, III. Previamente, los tres demandados se declararon culpables de un cargo de soborno de una programa federal y admitieron que usaron sus posiciones oficiales para enriquecerse por medio de aceptar sobornos de parte de individuos con el motivo de contratar sus negocios con la cuidad. Éste año, el Alcalde de Crystal City Ricardo Lopez y el ex–Abogado de la Cuidad, y el Director de la Cuidad Willam James Jonas, III, fueron condenados a 97 meses y 420 meses en prisión federal, respectivamente, por su participación en la esquema. Jonas fue ordenado de pagar $1,047,814.05 en restitución y Lopez fue ordenado de pagar $24,003.95 en restitución. Por su participación ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-10-28
    6 months ago
  • Three Former Crystal City, TX, Officials Sentenced to Federal Prison for Bribery and Kickback Scheme
    In Del Rio today, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses sentenced three former Crystal City officials in connection with a bribery and kickback scheme announced United States Attorney John F. Bash and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs.Judge Moses sentenced former Mayor Pro-Tem Rogelio Mata, former City Councilman Roel Mata, and former City Councilman Gilbert Urrabazo to 33 months, 21 months, and 24 months in federal prison, respectively. Judge Moses ordered that all three defendants be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing their respective prison terms. Judge Moses further ordered the three to each pay a $2,000 fine, and ordered them jointly and severally to pay a money judgment in forfeiture of $11,291.73. The forfeiture judgment represents divestiture of the various bribes, which were paid to them and to co-defendant William James Jonas, III. Previously, all three defendants pleaded guilty to one count of federal programs bribery while admitting to using their official positions to enrich themselves by accepting cash bribes from an individual seeking to do business with the city.Earlier this year, Crystal City Mayor Ricardo Lopez and former City Attorney and City Manager William James Jonas, III, were sentenced to 97 months and 420 months in federal prison, respectively, for their roles in the scheme. In addition, Jonas was ordered to pay $1,047,814.05 in restitution and Lopez was ordered to pay $24,003.95 in restitution. Businessman Ngoc Tri Nguyen was sentenced to 17 months incarceration and ordered to pay $6,000 in restitution and ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-10-28
    6 months ago
  • Federal Jury Convicts Two Austin Psychologists, Owners of Psychological A.R.T.S., P.C., in Health Care Offenses
    In Austin today, a federal jury convicted two Austin psychologists who own and operate Psychological A.R.T.S., P.C., announced United States Attorney John F. Bash, FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.Following a three-week-long trial, jurors found 73-year-old Dr. William Joseph Dubin and his son, 33-year-old Dr. David Fox Dubin, guilty of federal crimes. Dr. William Dubin was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks, and two counts of offering to pay and paying illegal kickbacks. Dr. David Dubin was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of health care fraud and aiding and abetting health care fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft.Previously, a third defendant in this case, 68-year-old patient recruiter Glen Elwood McKenzie, Jr., of Cedar Park, TX, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the federal anti-kickback law and one count of receiving an illegal kickback. McKenzie was the President of the Board of Directors of an emergency shelter house located approximately eighty miles from Austin that provided temporary shelter for crisis intervention and mental health services to children and youth ages 5 to 17 who had been removed from their homes by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.Evidence provided during trial revealed that Dr. William Dubin paid McKenzie to use his position at the emergency shelter to refer children and youth to Psychological A.R.T.S., for comprehensive mental health ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-10-28
    6 months ago
  • Former Presidio County Official Pleads Guilty to Federal Bribery Related Charge
    In Alpine today, 66-year-old Carlos Eduardo Nieto, former Special Projects Coordinator for the City of Presidio and former Presidio Independent School District trustee, entered a guilty plea to federal charges related to a public corruption investigation, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and F.B.I. Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie, Jr., El Paso Division.  Appearing before U.S. District Judge David Counts, Nieto pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and deprivation of honest services.  By pleading guilty, Nieto admitted that he and 56–year-old former Presidio County Precinct 3 Commissioner Lorenzo Padilla Hernandez conspired since May 10, 2016, to defraud Presidio County and its citizens of money by corruptly ensuring, through their positions and influence, that a particular company would be awarded a County contract for a document management system.  Hernandez and Nieto solicited and received $19,800 and $8,300, respectively, for their efforts.  On May 9, 2017, Hernandez voted to award the contract to that particular company. On August 3, 2018, Hernandez pleaded guilty to the same charge.  Nieto faces up to 20 years in federal prison.  Judge Counts scheduled sentencing for Nieto on February 19, 2019, in Pecos.  Sentencing for Hernandez, who also faces up to 20 years in federal prison, has yet to be scheduled. The F.B.I. with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division investigated this case.  Individuals who have first-hand information about corruption, fraud, or bribery related to Presidio County are urged ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-10-22
    6 months ago
  • U.S. Army Sergeant at Ft. Bliss Sentenced to 60 Years in Federal Prison
    In El Paso today, a federal judge sentenced 34–year-old U.S. Army Sergeant Ron Mitchell Dunbar to 60 years in federal prison followed by lifetime of supervised release for aggravated sexual abuse of a child and receipt and possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie, Jr., of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), El Paso Division. On April 19, 2018, Dunbar pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, one count of sexual abuse of a child, one count of aiding and abetting sexual abuse of a child and one count of receipt and possession of child pornography.  By pleading guilty, Dunbar admitted that between 2007 and 2009, he sexually assaulted two minor females while on Ft. Bliss.  Furthermore, Dunbar admitted that on September 15, 2017, he obtained from 29-year-old Ft. Bliss resident Faith Mitchell Chavez multiple photos he requested of her two minor daughters engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  “A single incident of sexual abuse can permanently alter the course of a child’s life.  Today’s 60-year sentence reflects the utter inhumanity of these types of offenses,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash. “Crimes against children violate the most innocent and helpless members of our community. The FBI will continue to work tirelessly to investigate allegations and crimes such as the ones in this investigation,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Buie. Chavez, who remains in federal custody, is scheduled for sentencing at 8:00am on November 1, 2018, before ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-10-16
    6 months ago
  • Former State Senator Carlos Uresti Enters Guilty Plea to Conspiring to Bribe Public Official
    In San Antonio this morning, former District 19 Texas State Senator Carlos I. Uresti pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs. Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Bemporad, Uresti pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.  By pleading guilty, Uresti admitted that from January 2006 to September 2016, he conspired with others to facilitate the payment of bribes to former Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo in exchange for Judge Galindo’s official actions concerning a Reeves County Correctional Center medical services contract.  Uresti further admitted to collecting $10,000 a month as a marketing consultant.  Approximately half of that sum was then given to Judge Galindo as a facilitation of the bribe and for his support to award the contract to a specific company at a more favorable price to that company. Uresti, who faces up to five years in federal prison on the bribery conspiracy charge, remains on bond pending sentencing scheduled for January 14, 2019, before Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra.     On June 26, 2018, Uresti was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $6.3 million in restitution.  A jury convicted Uresti on various federal charges regarding his role in an investment Ponzi scheme centered on a company which purportedly bought and sold fracking sand for oil production, FourWinds, Inc.  The jury found that Uresti recruited investors under false pretenses by lying about investing his ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-10-11
    6 months ago
  • Pedro Silva Segura Sentenced to Federal Prison for Conspiracy to Transport Undocumented Aliens Resulting in Death
    In San Antonio today, Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra sentenced 47–year-old Pedro Silva Segura to 108 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release for his role in an undocumented alien smuggling operation that resulted in ten deaths last year, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden. “Today’s lengthy sentence is a reminder that the penalties are very severe for anyone who participates in the dangerous business of illegally transporting human beings in tractor trailers. Time and again, we have seen this practice result in the loss of life of the most vulnerable among us.  We will be relentless in prosecuting this very serious crime,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash. “As this sentence makes clear, those who exploit people in this brutal and disgraceful way will face serious consequences themselves,” said Special Agent in Charge, Shane Folden, HSI San Antonio.  “Alien smugglers view their clients as nothing more than a commodity and they have no qualms about collecting their smuggling fees.” On March 8, 2018, Silva pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport undocumented aliens resulting in death.  By pleading guilty, Silva admitted to operating a stash house in Laredo, TX, used as a holding area for undocumented aliens awaiting transportation to final destinations in the U.S.  Silva further admitted that approximately five undocumented aliens left the stash house on the night of July 22, 2017, and were ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-10-09
    6 months ago
  • U.S. Attorney John F. Bash Announces Progress in Making Our Communities Safer Through Project Safe Neighborhoods
    One year ago, the Department of Justice announced the revitalization and enhancement of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which Attorney General Sessions has made the centerpiece of the Department’s violent crime reduction strategy. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. Throughout the past year, we have partnered with all levels of law enforcement, local organizations, and members of the community to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. “Attorney General Sessions has demonstrated tough and inspiring leadership in prioritizing the fight against violent crime,” said U.S. Attorney John F. Bash.  “Our office and our federal, state, and local partners have focused considerable resources on areas in Central and West Texas that have struggled with violent crime in the past.  In my view, this not just a law-and-order issue.  It is also an issue of economic and social justice.  When children in some communities grow up in constant fear of a sudden outbreak of random violence—when the simple act of walking to school is fraught with risk—their chance for success and happiness in life is inevitably diminished.  We won’t ensure that every child in this Nation can succeed ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-10-09
    6 months ago
  • Tractor-Trailer Driver Sentenced to Federal Prison for Transporting Illegal Aliens
    In San Antonio this morning, a federal judge sentenced 36–year-old Gerardo Javier Carreon of Laredo, TX, to 70 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for transporting illegal aliens, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden. On July 5, 2018, Carreon pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens.  On June 12, 2018, authorities responding to a scene in the area of Loop 410 and Broadway discovered over 50 illegal aliens in and around a semi-tractor trailer driven by Carreon.  “As we’ve seen too many times, transporting human beings in tractor-trailers is unbelievably dangerous.  This has to stop,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash.  “We will vigorously prosecute drivers who commit this dangerous crime, and the penalties are stiff.” “As this sentence makes clear, those who exploit people in for profit will themselves face consequences,” said HSI San Antonio Special Agent in Charge Folden.  “Those responsible for illegally moving people into and through our country place personal profit ahead of public safety and border protection.  They are driven by greed with little regard for the health and well-being of their human cargo, which can be a deadly combination.” The U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is investigating this case.  Assistant United States Attorneys Matt Lathrop and Christina Playton prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-10-03
    7 months ago
  • Houston Man Sentenced to Life in Federal Prison for Racketeering Schemes that Involved the Attempted Capital Murder of State District Judge Julie Kocurek
    In Austin today, a federal judge sentenced 31-year-old Chimene Hamilton Onyeri to life in federal prison for his leadership role in carrying out fraud and racketeering schemes that involved the attempted capital murder of State District Court Judge Julie Kocurek in November of 2015.  That announcement was made by U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore; FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Goss, Houston Field Office; Austin Police Chief Brian Manley; and, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Inspector in Charge Adrian Gonzalez, Houston Division. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ordered Onyeri to pay $178,374.41 restitution. “Today’s life sentence for Mr. Onyeri was about more than obtaining a measure of justice for Judge Kocurek—although we certainly did that.  It was also about safeguarding the integrity of our judicial system.  This office, along with our federal, state, and local law-enforcement partners, will be absolutely relentless in pursuing those who attack or threaten judges or court staff.  Impartial, fearless judges are key to the rule of law.  Today the rule of law was vindicated,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash. On April 26, 2018, a jury convicted Onyeri of one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute, one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, seven counts of aggravated identity theft, and six counts of witness tampering. Evidence presented during ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-10-01
    7 months ago
  • Two Austin Men Among Eight Individuals Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for Their Roles in Fraudulent “Sweepstakes” and Tax Refund Schemes
    A federal grand jury indictment unsealed in Austin charges Austin residents Joel Calvin and Clarence Barefield along with seven other individuals for their roles in an estimated $250 million intended-loss fraudulent “sweepstakes” scheme and an estimated $25 million intended-loss income tax refund scheme. That announcement was made today by U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Goss, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Houston Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), San Antonio; and, Inspector in Charge Adrian Gonzalez, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Houston Division. In addition to Calvin, age 31, and Barefield (aka CJ), age 40, the indictment charges Mesquite, TX, resident Donna Lundy, age 54; Nigerian citizens and Canadian residents Harry Cole (aka Akintomide Ayoola Bolu, aka John King, aka Big Bro, aka Egbon), age 48; Emmanuel Olawle Ajayi (aka Wale, aka Walata), age 41; Tony Dada Akinbobola (aka Lawrence D Awoniyi, aka Boss Tony, aka Toyin), age 47; Bolaji Akinwunmi Oyewole (aka BJ, aka Beejay), age 31; and, Nigerian citizen and Indianapolis, IN, resident Akintola Akinmadeyemi, age 54.  All eight are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud (Sweepstakes) and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.  Emmanuel Ajayi also faces a second conspiracy-to-commit-wire-fraud charge (Stolen Identity Refund Fraud) and an aggravated identity theft charge.  Lundy also faces one substantive count of wire fraud. According to the indictment, the defendants carried out their sweepstakes scheme from 2012 to 2016.  Charging $1 per name, Lundy ... read more
    Source: DOJ – West TXPublished on 2018-09-25
    7 months ago