Mexican Businessman Arrested for $30M Fraud Scheme
SAN ANTONIO – A Mexican businessman was arrested yesterday in Houston and a Mexican businesswoman is in federal custody on criminal charges related to their alleged involvement in a fraud scheme.
According to court documents, Juan Carlos Martinez Cecias Rodriguez (Martinez), 51, is the owner of Mobile Coatings Management (MCM) and part owner and president of Uberwurx, doing business as RhinoPro, a spray-on truck bedliner and truck accessory company. Karina Hernandez, 41, is part owner of Texas Franchise and Business Consulting (TFBC). TFBC mainly targets and markets to Mexican nationals interested in starting businesses in Texas.
Martinez marketed himself and Uberwurx as providing a mechanism for investors to gain E-2 visas for legal entry into the U.S. An E-2 visa is reserved for foreign entrepreneurs that allows them to work inside of the U.S. based on a substantial investment in a bona fide enterprise.
Martinez worked with Hernandez to market and sell the Uberwurx franchise to Mexican national investors but failed to make many guaranteed payments to investors. Martinez’s company, MCM, managed the Uberwurx franchises instead of the investors doing so in violation of E2 visa requirements. Martinez instructed investors to omit from their E2 visa applications the fact that MCM managed the franchises.
Martinez and Hernandez perpetrated this scheme on at least 120 different investors between January 2017 and December 2021 with a loss of more than $30 million.
Rodriguez and Hernandez are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud, and four counts of encouraging and inducing illegal immigration for private gain. If convicted, Rodriguez and Hernandez face up to 20 years in prison on each of the wire fraud counts and up to 10 years in prison on each of the encouraging illegal immigration counts. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff of the Western District of Texas and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs made the announcement.
The FBI is investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Daphne Newaz is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.