The owner of Hidalgo County Emergency Medical Services is admitting he committed bankruptcy fraud. Kenneth Ponce pleaded guilty in McAllen federal court Wednesday to lying on company financial disclosure forms after Hidalgo County EMS declared bankruptcy in October 2019.
Federal prosecutors say Ponce falsified or did not disclose specific transactions in order to conceal property. Prosecutors also say Ponce used the company’s air ambulance planes for personal and charter flights, even though they were leased for emergency use.
In his guilty plea, Ponce also agreed to a monetary judgement of almost $125,000. The 48-year-old Ponce faces up to five years in federal prison when he’s sentenced in late May. At the height of its operations, Hidalgo County EMS and South Texas Air Med had 350 employees and covered 8 South Texas counties with its emergency ground and air transport services.