Please E-mail suggested additions, comments and/or corrections to Kent@MoreLaw.Com.
Case Number: 7:21-cr-00535
Judge: Randy Crane
Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Hidalgo County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States District Attorney’s Office
Description: McAllen, Texas bankruptcy fraud charged criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant, Kenneth B. Ponce, age 48, who was charged with conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud.
Kenneth B. Ponce is the CEO of Hidalgo County Emergency Services Foundation doing business as Hidalgo County EMS, South Texas Air Med and South Texas EMS (collectively referred to as Hidalgo County EMS). On Oct. 8, 2019, Hidalgo County EMS initiated bankruptcy proceedings in the Southern District of Texas (SDTX) Corpus Christi Division. Today, Ponce admitted that during the bankruptcy proceeding, he committed perjury when filing official forms requiring him to disclose financial affairs, debts and assets of Hidalgo County EMS. Ponce failed to disclose or falsified certain transactions in order to conceal property from the bankruptcy estate. He also fraudulently received material amounts of property from the bankruptcy estate and permitted others to continue to do so.
As part of the plea, Ponce admitted to fraudulent agreements involving an Edinburg property. The purpose was to forfeit equitable interests and restructuring of over $264,000 in order to give another individual preferential treatment over other creditors. In official forms filed with the bankruptcy court, Ponce did not disclose any prior agreements concerning the property or related equitable interests Hidalgo County EMS had possessed
Hidalgo County EMS was also paying WFAS Inc. for leases on the exclusive use of two airplanes. Ponce owned WFAS. In bankruptcy filings, Ponce said the leases were dedicated to emergency transfers. In reality, at least one of the planes was inoperable during portions of the bankruptcy. Ponce also personally used the planes or they were for chartered flights he had arranged. Ponce would retain the profit, while Hidalgo County EMS paid the leases.
Ponce also knew of certain payments Hidalgo County EMS made towards a residence in McAllen he personally used as well as other payments not actually for the benefit of Hidalgo County EMS. Ponce further admitted he received an interest payment from $50,000 another individual had embezzled from the Hidalgo County EMS bankruptcy estate.
He did not disclose any of this to the bankruptcy court or Hidalgo County EMS creditors.
As part of his plea, Ponce also agreed to a money judgment in the amount of $124,010.15 and restitution to Hidalgo County EMS or its successors.
The FBI conducted the investigation with the assistance of the McAllen Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Roberto Lopez Jr. prosecuted the case. AUSA Richard Kincheloe is representing the United States in the underlying bankruptcy proceedings.
CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD THE UNITED STATES
Outcome: 03/17/2021 Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Randy Crane: RE-ARRAIGNMENT held on 3/17/2021. Kenneth B. Ponce (1). The defendant entered a plea of "Guilty" to the Criminal Information. Plea Agreement filed. The Court referred case to Magistrate court for further agreed bond proceedings. Appearances: Roberto Lopez, Jr., AUSA; Crispin CJ Quintanilla, III, Ret; D. Alanis, US Probation-Mc.(ERO:Ricardo Rodriguez) Deft to appear before Magistrate court for bond proceedings and should remain on bond pending sentencing., filed.(DeliaRodriguez, 7) (Entered: 03/17/2021)
03/17/2021 6 PLEA AGREEMENT as to Kenneth B. Ponce, filed. (drodriguez, 7) (Entered: 03/17/2021)
03/17/2021 7 ORDER for Presentence Investigation and Disclosure & Sentencing Dates as to Kenneth B. Ponce. PSI Completion due by 4/21/2021 Objection to PSI due by 5/5/2021 Final PSI due by 5/19/2021 Sentencing set for 5/26/2021 at 09:00 AM before Judge Randy Crane ( Signed by Judge Randy Crane) Parties notified. (drodriguez, 7) (Entered: 03/17/2021)
03/17/2021 8 PLEA AGREEMENT as to Kenneth B. Ponce, filed. (Lopez, Roberto) (Entered: 03/17/2021)
03/17/2021 9 NOTICE OF SETTING as to Kenneth B. Ponce. Bond Hearing set for 3/17/2021 at 03:00 PM in 8th Floor Courtroom before Magistrate Judge Nadia S Medrano, filed. (jaleyva, 7) (Entered: 03/17/2021)
03/17/2021 10 Pretrial Services Report (Sealed) as to Kenneth B. Ponce. NOTICE: Document available to applicable parties only. Authorized users enter CM/ECF Filer login and password first for authentication. Be sure to SAVE the document locally at the time of viewing, filed. (osvillarreal, 7) (Entered: 03/17/2021)
03/17/2021 Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Nadia S Medrano: BOND HEARING as to Kenneth B. Ponce held on 3/17/2021. Government is unopposed to bond and in agreement with a $100,000.00 unsecured bond. The Court took Judicial Notice of Pretrial Services Report and entered findings. Court grants bond and sets conditions of release: $100,000.00 unsecured bond; standard conditions; must not violate federal, state, or local law while on bond; Pretrial supervision in McAllen; maintain/seek employment; surrender passport; do not obtain new passport; travel restricted to S/D TX; no foreign travel; avoid all contact with Co-Defts and witnesses/victims directly or indirectly; refrain from possessing firearms/destructive device/dangerous weapons; firearms must be removed prior to bond release-Wife has removed them; refrain from excessive use of alcohol; refrain from unlawful possession/use of narcotic drug or controlled substance unless prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner; report within 72 hours any contact with law enforcement personnel. Appearances: Roberto Lopez, Jr, Crispin C J Quintanilla, III, RETD. (ERO: Lupita Corbett)(Pretrial Officer: Orlando Montemayor)(Interpreter: N/A) (DUSM: Andre Rodriguez). Deft released on bond., filed.(caramirez, 7) (Entered: 03/17/2021)
03/17/2021 11 UNSECURED Bond Entered as to Kenneth B. Ponce in amount of $100,000.00/UNSECURED,, filed. (drodriguez, 7) (Entered: 03/17/2021)
03/17/2021 12 ORDER Setting Conditions of Release as to Kenneth B. Ponce. ( Signed by Magistrate Judge Nadia S Medrano) Parties notified. (drodriguez, 7) (Entered: 03/17/2021)