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Justice News

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

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Uvalde Man Sentenced to Federal Prison in Farm Loan Fraud Case

A federal judge in Del Rio has sentenced Ruben James Valadez, age 45 of Uvalde, TX, to six months in federal prison for his role in a farm loan scheme, announced U.S. Attorney John Bash.

During sentencing yesterday afternoon in Del Rio, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses also ordered Valadez to perform 200 hours of community service in lieu of a fine; pay $15,782 in restitution to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (joint and severally with co-defendant Barbara Serna Salinas); and, be placed on supervised release for a period of five years after completing his prison term.

On April 26, 2018, Valadez pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement on a loan application.  By pleading guilty, Valadez admitted that in order to secure a $15,000 FSA loan in June 2016, he provided false information and paid cash and other incentives to Serna, a former loan officer for the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Uvalde.  Valadez and Eric Torres Neira of San Antonio, received FSA loans totaling more than $150,000 as a result of this scheme. 

On April 9, 2019, Judge Moses sentenced Serna to two years in federal prison and ordered her to pay $166,744.20 in restitution to the USDA.  On December 4, 2018, Judge Moses sentenced Neira to five months imprisonment and ordered him to pay restitution to the USDA, joint and severally with Serna, in the amount of $142,961.94. 

The USDA Office of Inspector General-Investigations, with the assistance of the FBI, conducted this investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Todd Keagle and Joshua Banister are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.

Financial Fraud
Updated October 4, 2019