Former Nonprofit Leader Pleads Guilty to Fraud in San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO – A California man pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
According to court documents, Hector Barreto, 61, of San Juan Capistrano, was one of two conspirators who operated the Latino Coalition Foundation, an entity organized as a charitable and tax-exempt organization, and Hispanic Business Roundtable Institute, formed as a domestic nonprofit corporation from October 2012 to September 2021. Barreto also controlled the two organizations’ bank accounts.
Barreto and co-conspirator Miguel Gutierrez solicited donations from at least two victims for the purpose of funding nonprofit programs. While some of the funding was used for its intended purpose, Barreto and Gutierrez also diverted between $250,000 and $550,000 of the charitable funds toward personal use credit card expenses. The payments to the co-conspirators were not reported and from 2017 to 2019, Barreto co-conspired to falsify the IRS Form 990s for the foundation.
Barreto’s plea came four days into a jury trial that was expected to last three weeks. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 2 and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the wire fraud charge and five years in prison on the charge of defrauding the U.S. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas and Acting Special Agent in Charge Rodrick J. Benton of IRS Criminal Investigation’s Houston Field Office made the announcement.
IRS-CI and FBI are investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph Blackwell and Bill Harris are prosecuting the case.