Former city manager of Crystal City pleads not guilty

William James Jonas charged with bribery

Crystal City Manager and Attorney William James Jonas III

CRYSTAL CITY, Texas - The former city manager of Crystal City pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal corruption charges.

William James Jonas is charged with wire fraud, theft of services and bribery.

Jonas, 54, was indicted in February on one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and three substantive federal programs bribery charges.

The indictment alleges that between May 2012 and February 2016, Jonas and former mayor Ricardo Lopez used their positions to solicit and accept bribes from people seeking to do business with the city. The indictment also alleges that the men used emails, text messages and phone calls to carry out a scheme to defraud the city and its citizens through bribery and the concealment of information.

If convicted on all charges, Jonas and Lopez could face up to 35 years in federal prison.

Both men are currently out on bail.

City Councilmen Rogelio Mata, Roel Mata and Gilbert Urrabazo and businessman Ngoc Tri Nguyen were also arrested in the scanda