San Angelo Bail Bondsman, Defense Attorney Accused of Forging Will of Alleged Pedophile
A San Angelo bail bondsman and a high-power defense attorney have both been indicted on multiple felonies that center on the will of an alleged pedophile that died of natural causes last year.
Ray Zapata, 63, of Zapata Bail Bonds, was booked into the county jail this morning after being picked up by a sheriff’s deputy at the law offices of Melvin Gray and Fred Brigman around 10:15 a.m. Zapata was not cuffed, but was placed in the backseat of the deputy’s vehicle and entered the jail through the sally port, where he turned himself in.
Court records allege that Zapata forged the will of 77-year-old John Edward Sullivan, who died on June 4 of last year. The holographic will, which was dated June 2, 2014, two days before Sullivan’s death, was scrawled on a small piece of paper with Zapata written in as the witness.
Above: Attorney John Young. (Contributed)
“I, John Sullivan, in case of some expected emergency or death, leave everything that I own, bank accounts, savings, life insurance policies, all real estate properties…to my attorney John Young, who knows my wishes and intentions as we have discussed…” the will states.
Young, Sullivan’s defense attorney in a pending case against the deceased for child pornography and online solicitation of a minor, has also been indicted as a co-defendant in the case. He has been charged with one count of forgery, one count of theft of property greater than or equal to $200,000, one count of aggravated perjury and first-degree misapplication by a fiduciary.
The aggregate sum of the money on Sullivan's domestic bank accounts, as reported by Young, is $4,442,022.48. Sullivan had well over $1 million in real estate as well, and several bank accounts overseas with over €200,000 in total.
Zapata has been charged with one count of forgery, one count of theft of property greater than or equal to $200,000, one count of aggravated perjury and two counts of forgery of a financial instrument.
The perjury and theft are alleged to have been committed on June 4, the day of Sullivan’s death, according to the indictment. The two forgery charges are alleged to have taken place on June 16, the date of the probate hearing before Judge Ben Nolan in Tom Green County.
The case against Zapata and Young is being prosecuted by Cliff Herburg of the Attorney General’s Office. The investigation, court documents reveal, was a combined effort of the Texas Rangers, the San Angelo Police Department and The Texas Attorney General's Office.
The forgery charges against both men are state jail felonies punishable by 180 days to two years in a state jail and an optional $10k fine. Aggravated perjury is a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and an optional $10k fine, and theft of $200k or greater is a first-degree felony punishable by five to 99 years in prison and an optional $10k fine. Misapplication of a fiduciary is also a first-degree felony.
Zapata bonded out of the jail on Thursday afternoon, a few hours after he was booked. Jenkins A-Action Bail Bond posted the $45,000 on Zapata's behalf. Zapata is an employee of Jenkins.
Young was booked out-of-county on March 26. He has since been released on bond.
* Amanda Henson contributed to this report. This story will be updated as information is processed.