Man sentenced to 20 years in prison after writing nearly $1 million in hot checks, DA says

John Cardenas, 36, was found guilty of theft of service

John Cardenas was sentenced to 20 years in prison in a theft of service case.
John Cardenas was sentenced to 20 years in prison in a theft of service case. (KSAT/BCSO)

SAN ANTONIO – A man accused of writing nearly $1 million in hot checks has been sentenced to 20 years in prison, according to the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.

John Cardenas, 36, was sentenced Tuesday after a jury found him guilty of theft of service. Court records showed Cardenas was also charged in seven other similar felony cases.

Cardenas hosted football events with attendees from across Texas who were promised that they would be seen by college recruiters, according to the DA. His conviction stems from a $34,000 hot check he wrote for charter buses.

But, according to the DA, Cardenas also wrote bad checks totaling more than $40,000 for uniforms.

Cardenas is also accused in an unindicted case where the DA said he hosted a group at the Hill Country Hyatt and paid for rooms, cabanas and meals with a check that bounced.

In all, Cardenas is suspected of writing about $950,000 worth of bad checks, the DA said.

“This defendant’s crime spree didn’t just target large businesses. Some of his victims suffered losses from which they may never recover financially. That he would continue writing checks he knew he did not have the money to cover while he was out on bond shows how little this defendant regarded the law,” said District Attorney Joe Gonzales.

Cardenas had a previous conviction of stealing money from an elderly person in 2007, which enhanced his transportation theft case from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony.

Because of that, Judge Jennifer Pena sentenced Cardenas to the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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About the Author:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 20 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.