6 people arrested in connection with $1.4 million payroll fraud scheme

US Attorney’s Office: 6 people defrauded transportation companies through payroll scheme

SAN ANTONIO – Six people have been arrested on charges related to their alleged participation in a scheme to defraud two transportation companies of over $1 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas.

Veronica Rios, 42; Pedro Guillen, 48; Mario Martinez, 48; Guadalupe Alsidez, 47; Amanda Hernandez, 23; and Maira Vargas, 37, allegedly defrauded the transportation companies of over $1,407,000 through a payroll scheme, according to court documents.

“According to the indictment, Rios processed payroll for the companies,” the news release said. “In 2017, Rios started overpaying employees in exchange for some of the overpayment. To further the scheme, Rios also added non-employees to the payroll who gave Rios part of the payments they received.

Rios, Martinez and Alsidez were arrested Monday and remain in custody pending detention hearings, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Guillen, Hernandez and Vargas were arrested Wednesday, and are now on bond.

Rios is charged with 18 counts of wire fraud for fraudulent payments she allegedly made to various employees, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Each of the remaining defendants are charged with three counts of wire fraud for fraudulent payments they allegedly received from Rios.

The defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count if convicted, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.