An Alice man charged with fraud for allegedly swindling people out of approximately $6 million was in District Court Tuesday morning in an attempt to reduce his bond.
Michael Anthony Collins, 41, and his attorney Sergio Sanchez of Sanchez Law Firm in Edinburg asked the court for a reduction in his $1.1 million bond or to release his client. Collins was charged with fraud sell of securities and dealer or agent without registration.
According to Sanchez's motion, Collins is illegally confined and restrained of liberty due to the bond amount. The motion continues to state the bond amount is excessive and beyond Collins' financial means; a violation of his eighth and 14 amendment rights, court documents state.
Collins owns Collins Financial Group. At least 24 complaints have been made to the JWC Sheriff's Department after investing money with Collins. He is alleged to mislead people through a Ponzi scheme.
“We will not know how many victims there are total until (the sheriff's department and Texas Rangers) complete their investigation,” said Jim Wells District Attorney Carlos Garcia. “Some cases may remain state and some may be federal.”
Victims claim Collins took their money and never received the dividends they were guaranteed.
He has been in custody at the JWC jail since Aug. 3 after turning himself into authorities.
District Judge Richard Terrell is asking for the pre-trial probation officer to turn over his findings before making a decision.
Terrell has not made a decision at this time.
“The judge found there was probable cause on the case and took into consideration the evidence presented to him,” Garcia said. “It may be today, it may be tomorrow. The judge can take the time he needs to make a proper decision.”
Calls from Collins' potential victims continue to be made to the sheriff's department, Alice Police Department and the DA's office.
“The more news coverage this case gets the better and has helped,” Garcia said. “There may be potential victims out there who don't know.”
JWC investigators are asking victims to get there paperwork together. Bank statements, text messages and emails will help a victim's case.
The JWC Sheriff's office, Alice PD, Texas Rangers and the Texas Securities Board are working together on this case.