Former Mayor of Crystal City, TX, Sentenced to Federal Prison for Bribery and Kickback Scheme
In Del Rio today, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses sentenced Ricardo Lopez, the former Mayor of Crystal City, TX, to 97 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and to pay $24,003.95___ restitution, announced United States Attorney John F. Bash and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs.
“Today Mr. Lopez received a fair sentence for his betrayal of the public trust. This case is just one example of our office’s unyielding fight against public corruption in Central and West Texas,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash.
“Citizens deserve honest and faithful service from their public officials. Greed and self-interest have no place in public service. Officials who betray the public and violate their oath of office will be thoroughly investigated and held accountable,” said FBI SAC Combs.
On June 26, 2017, a federal jury convicted Lopez of one count of conspiracy to commit bribery involving federal programs, one substantive count of bribery involving federal programs, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and theft of honest services and four substantive counts of wire fraud and theft of honest services. Jurors also convicted William James Jonas, III, the former City Manager and City Attorney for Crystal City, of one count of conspiracy to commit bribery involving federal programs, three substantive counts of bribery involving federal programs, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and theft of honest services, five substantive counts of wire fraud and theft of honest services, and four counts of wire fraud.
Testimony provided during trial revealed that between May 2012 and February 2016, Jonas, Lopez, and other city officials used their official positions to enrich themselves by soliciting and accepting bribes from persons seeking to do business in Crystal City. Jonas and Lopez also used emails, texts and phone calls to carry out their scheme to defraud Crystal City and its citizens through bribery and the concealment of information.
On May 16, 2018, Judge Moses sentenced Jonas to 420 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. Judge Moses also ordered that Jonas pay $1,047,814.05 restitution to Crystal City. Three other individuals—former Mayor Pro-Tem Rogelio Mata, former City Councilman Roel Mata and former City Councilman Gilbert Urrabazo—have pleaded guilty to a federal programs bribery charge and face up to ten years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine. Sentencing for all three former city officials is scheduled for September 6, 2018, in Del Rio before Judge Moses.
The FBI conducted this investigation with the assistance of the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigative Division, the Texas Rangers and the San Antonio Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney William R. Harris is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.