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District Attorney Press Releases

Posted on: September 29, 2021

SA man who wrote nearly $1 million in hot checks receives maximum prison sentence

John Richard Cardenas booking photo from the Bexar County Jail

A San Antonio man convicted of writing tens of thousands of dollars’ in hot checks has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

John Cardenas, 36, was found guilty by a jury in the 290th District Court in July on a charge of theft of service. Evidence showed on January 22, 2019, Cardenas rented numerous charter buses to transport guests to a weeklong football event, then wrote a check for $34,000 knowing he did not have the funds to cover the check. At trial, multiple vendors testified that Cardenas had at least three checks bounce in the weeks leading up to the event for uniforms, screen-printing, and embroidery, totaling over $40,000.

At sentencing Tuesday, multiple witnesses testified Cardenas hosted events between November 2018 and January 2019. During those events, he paid for uniforms, transportation and meals for groups to include youth football leagues. Attendees from all over Texas were told they would be seen by scouts with the potential to be recruited to play on college teams. While Cardenas was awaiting trial for the transportation case and seven other similar alleged felonies, Cardenas is accused in an unindicted case of hosting an event at the Hill Country Hyatt. There, he is suspected of hosting a group at the Hill Country Hyatt, footing the bill for rooms, cabanas and meals. Like other cases, the check for this event bounced.

In all, Cardenas is suspected of writing about $950,000 worth of bad checks.

Because Cardenas was convicted of stealing money from an elderly person in 2007, the bus service theft was enhanced from a third degree felony to a second degree felony of theft of service between $30,000 and $150,000. That enhancement allowed Judge Jennifer Pena to sentence Cardenas to the maximum of 20 years in prison.

“This defendant’s crime spree didn’t just target large businesses. Some of his victims suffered losses from which they may never recover financially. That he would continue writing checks he knew he did not have the money to cover while he was out on bond shows how little this defendant regarded the law,” said District Attorney Joe Gonzales.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Alicia Lovett of the Criminal Trial Division.

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