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San Antonio woman pleads guilty to role in bank fraud

A San Antonio woman pleaded guilty to her role in defrauding an area bank of millions of dollars.

Phyllis Jo Martinez, 79, on Tuesday entered a guilty plea to a single count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud in a case involving the former president of a Bank of San Antonio subsidiary.

She also had been indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, but that was dropped as part of her plea agreement.

Martinez is scheduled to be sentenced May 25. She faces the possibility of up to 30 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a maximum $1 million fine. She also will be required to make full restitution.

The Bank of San Antonio revealed in August that it had uncovered a $13.2 million “Ponzi-style fraud scheme” involving Ronald “Wayne” Schroeder, the former president of its Texas Express Funding LLC factoring subsidiary.

Schroeder is accused of using proceeds from the alleged scheme to buy automobiles, recreational vehicles, an airplane, a boat and a beach house. He faces three counts of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Martinez and Schroeder were among five people indicted by a federal grand jury in November. The others are Martinez’s son, Ryan Martinez, Jill Martin Alvarado and her husband Rigo Alvarado.

Martinez is the first of the five defendants to plead guilty. Court records show Jill Alvarado also has entered into a plea deal, though no hearing has been set in the matter. She was indicted on the same offenses as Phyllis Martinez.

“We appreciate her quick acceptance of responsibility,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Blackwell said of Martinez after the hearing. The proceeding was conducted by U.S. District Judge Jason Pulliam via Zoom.

Bobby Barrera, Martinez’s lawyer, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Martinez is the former owner of a cleaning company called Nerd Factory LLC. According to the redacted indictment, she assisted Schroeder in providing false and misleading invoices to financial institutions to factor.

Factoring involves advancing cash to companies in return for acquiring the debts owed to them at a discount. Companies get money quickly instead of waiting for customers to pay their bills.

The factoring firm — in this case, Texas Express Funding — makes money on the difference between what it acquired the debts for and what the customers owe on the invoices.

Schroeder would submit misleading information to financial institutions, resulting in payments to Nerd Factory, the Alvarado’s company and a “fake…

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