Former Crystal City Manager Gets Stiff Sentence for Looting Town

The man who orchestrated a fraud which bled the small town of Crystal City dry over the course of four years has been sentenced to 35 years in federal prison, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

William Jonas, 56, a San Antonio lawyer, was convicted of multiple counts of fraud and theft of honest services in connection with his time as City Manager of the rural community southwest of San Antonio.

Federal prosecutors say Jonas and Mayor Ricardo Lopez used Crystal City as their own piggy bank, shaking down business people who wanted to open enterprises in the town, and once even floating a bond issue, which officials said would be used for infrastructure, and placed the proceeds of the bond issue, $2.25 million, into a special account to benefit Jonas and Lopez.

"The judge imposed a just sentence for Mr. Jonas' staggering betrayal of the public trust, a betrayal that left Crystal City nearly insolvent," U.S. Attorney John Bash said.  "But this was surely not an isolated incident.  My office is committed to rooting out public corruption throughout Central and West Texas."

Prosecutors say after the bond issue was sold, on October 31, 2015, the balance in the City's General Fund was $2.207,000.  But after Jonas and Lopez got their hands on it, the balance just six days later, on November 6, 2015 was less than $2200, and Crystal City still owned $735,000 to contractors and vendors.

Lopez is awaiting sentencing and he could face as still a prison term as Jonas.

When Jonas gets out of prison, when he is 91 years old, he will have to pay more than $1 million in restitution to Crystal City.

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