Hidalgo County EMS owner pleads guilty to bankruptcy fraud

Local News

Harlingen, Texas (KVEO) — On Wednesday, the owner of Hidalgo County Emergency Services Foundation pleaded guilty to committing bankruptcy fraud, according to a press release sent by U.S. Attorney Jennifer Lowery.

In October 2019, Hidalgo County EMS CEO Kenneth Ponce initiated bankruptcy proceedings at the Southern District of Texas Corpus Christi Division.

A little after a year, today Ponce admitted at the bankruptcy proceeding that he lied when filing official forms about financial affairs, debts, and assets of the company.

“He also fraudulently received material amounts of property from the bankruptcy estate and permitted others to continue to do so,” stated the press release.

The company was also paying for leases for two airplanes to WFAS Inc, a company also owned by Ponce.

While filing for bankruptcy, Ponce said the airplanes were used for emergency transfers.

When in reality, one of the airplanes was inoperable and would use them for personal reasons or as charted flights that he had arranged. Ponce would keep the profit of the flights, while Hidalgo County EMS paid the leases.

“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,” stated the press release.

Ponce is set for sentencing on May 26 and faces up to five years in prison. He was allowed to remain on bond until the hearing.

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