Two Former Crystal City Officials Plead Guilty to Federal Charges in Connection with a Bribery and Kickback Scheme
In Del Rio this afternoon, former Crystal City Mayor Pro-Tem Rogelio Mata and his brother, former Crystal City Councilman Roel Mata, pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with a bribery and kickback scheme involving city contracts announced United States Attorney Richard Durbin, Jr., and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.
Appearing before United States District Judge Alia Moses, 43-year-old Rogelio Mata and 44–year-old Roel Mata pleaded guilty to one count of federal programs bribery. As a result of their guilty pleas, the defendants face up to ten years in federal prison; a fine of up to $250,000; a $12,291.73 monetary judgment; and, forfeiture of approximately $1,000 in U.S. currency seized by authorities during this investigation. Sentencing has yet to be scheduled.
By pleading guilty, the defendants admittedly used their official positions since February 2015 to enrich themselves by soliciting and accepting cash bribes from persons seeking to do business in Crystal City. The defendants also admitted that they voted in 2015 to award a contract to a person who had provided them with cash bribes.
Rogelio Mata and Roel Mata are the second and third defendants to enter guilty pleas in this case. On May 26, 2016, 38-year-old businessman Ngoc Tri Nguyen pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery involving an entity receiving over $10,000 in federal funds. By pleading guilty, Nguyen admittedly paid $6,000 in bribes in exchange for various official acts from his co-defendants. Nguyen, who faces up to ten years in federal prison, is scheduled for sentencing at 3:00pm on November 9, 2016, in Del Rio before Judge Moses.
Former City Attorney and City Manager William James Jonas, age 54, former Crystal City Mayor Ricardo Lopez, age 40, and former City Councilman Gilbert Urrabazo, age 45, all remain under indictment charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery involving an entity receiving over $10,000 in federal funds. Jonas also faces three substantive federal programs bribery charges. Lopez and Urrabazo also faces one substantive federal programs bribery charge. The matter is currently scheduled for Docket Call on October 11, 2016.
This ongoing joint investigation is being conducted by the FBI and the San Antonio Police Department with assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigative Division and the Texas Rangers. Individuals who have first-hand information about corruption, fraud, or bribery related to Crystal City are urged to contact the FBI at (210) 225-6741.
Assistant United States Attorneys Jay Hulings and William R. Harris are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.
An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. Jonas, Lopez and Urrabazo are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.