Details on Navejar's arrest made public
After a lengthy investigation, the details of Juan Navejar's arrest were recently made public record.
Navejar was arrested Friday, Sept. 25 on two counts of misapplication of fiduciary funds by Texas Ranger Roberto Montalvo Jr.
According to the Texas Penal Code 32.45, misapplication of fiduciary funds is when a person commits an offense if he intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly misapplies property he holds as a fiduciary or property of a financial institution in a manner that involves substantial risk of loss to the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property is held.
Navejar was the executive director at the Alice Chamber of Commerce and the treasurer at the Alice Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #8621 when the non-profits discovered money was missing.
In October of 2019, Texas Ranger Matt Sigur met with 79th District Attorney Carlos Garcia. Ranger Sigur requested an investigation on Juan Navejar in reference to misapplication of fiduciary property, concerning the Alice VFW Post #861 and the Alice Chamber of Commerce.
Ranger Sigur, who retired in May 2020, interviewed a member of the VFW in 2019 who said that “he noticed some questionable spending on the VFW Post 8621 bank accounts” approximately four to five years prior when Navejar was the commander of the post.
When Juan was confronted he told the VFW member, who later became commander, “that he had mistaken the VFW debit card for his personnel card and agreed to pay back the money.”
Later the same VFW member obtained bank statements for 2018 through July 2019. In these statements, the VFW Commander noticed additional spending tied to the VFW debit card and “approximately 15 checks made payable to the Alice Chamber of Commerce,” according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
When confronted again Navejar said “he fell on hard times at the Alice Chamber of Commerce,” but he agreed to pay back “some of the money if the VFW would agree not to file any criminal charges,” according to the arrest warrant affidavit. An agreement was made for Navejar to pay $5,000 out of $8,700.
In 2020, Ranger Sigur was reviewing VFW accounts and discovered that Navejar had issued 33 checks to the Alice Chamber of Commerce for $12,267.30 from January 2014 to August 2019, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
When the Alice Chamber of Commerce administration learned of the allegations against Navegar they reached out to law enforcement.
An interview with Alice Chamber of Commerce administration, they discovered that Navejar paid Chamber accounts with VFW funds. Navejar was placed on administrative leave in August 2019.
The arrest affidavit said that the Alice Chamber of Commerce administration reviewed their accounts and noticed the accounts had a negative balance as well as a bank account that the Chamber was unaware existed. Administration told the Ranger that Navejar “would provide the board members financial statements that indicated positive account balances.”
“Between the dates December 2013 through March 2019, 55 checks from various sources totaling $11,972 were deposited... Ranger Sigur discovered a total of $57,415.22 deposited” into the Chamber's additional account, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
Other interviews made with VFW and Alice Chamber of Commerce administration concluded checks used by Navejar from both organizations required two signatures; one was Navejar's and the other was the treasurers signature which are believed to be forged.
Rangers interviewed Navejar as they conducted their investigation into the allegations against Navejar.
In the arrest warrant affidavit, Navejar “admitted to transferring funds from the Alice VFW to the Alice Chamber of Commerce” and he “also admitted to paying his personal property taxes with the debit card from the VFW.”
Also discovered during the investigation was that VFW money was used was use to pay property taxes for a property owned by Navejar's father and checks made to a local private school where Navejar's child was enrolled. Navejar also admitted to Rangers that he used VFW money to pay the Chamber's water bill, insurance and for window cleaning service.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Navejar “intentionally, knowingly and recklessly misapply property, namely funds belonging to the Alice VFW of the value of $2,500 or more, but less than $30,000” and “funds belonging to the Alice Chamber of Commerce of the value of $30,000 or more, but less than $150,000.”
Navejar was released from the Jim Wells County jail on a total bond of $15,000. The case was forwarded to the District Attorney's Office.
"The Alice Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors would like to express gratitude for its members’ patience and support as authorities continue this investigation. From the very beginning, the Board has worked diligently with law enforcement and will continue to do so to ensure justice is served for our community,“ said the Alice Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
Note: The Alice Chamber of Commerce is not associated with the Alice Hub City Chamber of Commerce.