Ex-Attorney Gets 9 Years in the Slammer

     HOUSTON (CN) – A South Texas attorney was sentenced to 9 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution, for taking customers’ money from his title company’s escrow account without their knowledge or consent.
     Rogelio “Roy” Ibanez, 46, of Mission, pleaded guilty on July 14 to defrauding customers of his company, Southern Star Title Company of, McAllen and Edinburg.
     In his guilty plea Ibanez, who is also a former bank chairman, admitted taking customers’ money from Southern Star’s escrow account, prosecutors said.
     “Southern Star Title became insolvent as a result of the fraud and was liquidated by the State of Texas Department of Insurance. The shortage in Southern Star Title’s escrow account was replaced by money from the Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement announcing the sentence.
     Ibanez surrendered his law license on July 15 and was out on bond pending his sentencing. The FBI arrested him Monday in McAllen, Texas for violating his bond by practicing law without a license, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
     Ibanez also was ordered to pay $1,450,235.42 in restitution totaling to his victims, including $542,005.87 to the receiver of his title company.

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