Convicted former city of Crystal City administrator James Jonas III was handed a lengthy 35 year sentence in federal court Wednesday for his role in a public corruption scheme. Jonas, who was both city manager and city attorney for Crystal City, faced sentencing before federal district judge Alia Moses in Del Rio on his convictions of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and theft of honest services. Jonas was convicted in a jury trial several months ago.
Before handing down the sentence Judge Moses told Jonas "you were granted a trial and defense and you were found guilty of what you have been accused. The evidence was so overwhelmingly against you." Moses then ordered that Jonas be remanded into the federal corrections system for 420 consecutive months (35 years).
The federal investigation which snared Jonas was part of the FBI's continuing work to break up public corruption in local governments in South Texas, which in some instances has been dubbed "pay for play schemes." In Crystal City agents were looking into allegations of bribery, wire fraud, bribery in federal programs and theft of honest
The investigation also nabbed the ex mayor of Crystal City and two councilmen. The former mayor was also convicted by a jury and awaits sentencing and the councilmen plead out receiving lighter sentences.