Val Verde County Commissioner Indicted on Federal Charges
In Del Rio this morning, 62-year-old Val Verde County Precinct 1 Commissioner Ramiro Ramon surrendered to authorities based on federal charges alleging that he accepted bribes totaling more than $68,000 in exchange for actions performed in his official capacity. That announcement was made today by Acting United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs and IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge William Cotter.
A 23–count federal grand jury indictment, returned on Wednesday and unsealed today, charges Ramon with nine counts of wire fraud and theft of honest services; three counts of bribery; seven counts of Travel Act violations (use of interstate communication facilities to aid in racketeering); and four counts of making a false statement on an income tax return. The indictment alleges that since November 2005, the defendant solicited and accepted bribes from three different entities in exchange for favorable official action including casting votes, arranging meetings between the entities and City of Del Rio officials, and advocating for the approval of measures which would benefit the entities and their Val Verde County real estate project called “the Ranch.” Specifically, Ramon allegedly accepted close to $50,000 in payments from a San Antonio developer; approximately $9,300 from a group of New Braunfels business owners; and $5,000 from a California businessman.
According to the indictment, Ramon also took steps to hide, conceal and cover up his affiliation with the entities including the failure to report payments he received on his electronically filed federal income tax returns for 2011 and 2012. The indictment also alleges that Ramon made false statements on his income tax returns in which he underreported his total income to the IRS for calendar years 2008-2011.
Upon conviction, Ramon faces up to 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud; up to ten years’ imprisonment for bribery; up to five years for violating the Travel Act; and, up to three years’ imprisonment for making a false statement on an income tax return.
Ramon, who has served as Val Verde County Precinct 1 Commissioner since 2003, had his initial appearance this morning in Del Rio before United States Magistrate Judge Collis White and was released on bond.
This indictment resulted from an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). Assistant United States Attorneys Jay Hulings, William R. Harris and Goran Krnaich are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.