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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 29, 2018

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 a $40,000 money judgment for his role in the fraudulent scheme.

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 prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Component(s): 
Updated October 29, 2018