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San Antonio Criminal Defense Law Blog

Money laundering charges filed against affluenza mom

The notorious affluenza case brought national attention to Texas on multiple occasions, perhaps most recently when the affluenza teen and his mother were accused of fleeing the country. Initially, the mother was criminally charged for allegedly aiding her son with his flight, but at least one additional charge has been filed since then. Added by a grand jury, she is accused of committing money laundering.

These charges stem from a Dec. 2015 incident, in which her son was apparently depicted in video that showed him drinking alcohol. This was an apparent violation of the boy's probation. He and his mother then drove a pickup south until they arrived across the border, and they continued to avoid authorities for another two or so weeks. In Jan. 2016, the mother was deported back to Texas and released on bond.

CMS cracking down on health care fraud in Texas

As a result of increasing concerns about fraud, home health care providers in Texas will soon be under even more scrutiny than ever before. The initiative hopes to cut down on Medicare and health care fraud, but some worry that the move could have unintended consequences. The extra scrutiny could jeopardize health care providers' careers, as well as patient coverage.

Home health care costs hit $83.2 billion for patients in 2014, the vast majority of which was covered by Medicare and Medicaid plans. However, the Center for Medicare Services claims that approximately 60 percent of home health claims in 2015 were possibly filed improperly, which can sometimes be an indicator for fraud. The CMS plans to address this by reviewing every single claim for home health care rather than the 20 percent that has been standard in the past.

Study links bail to outcome of state crime charges

To the average Texan, there might not appear to be any type of link between bail and how some defendants plea. However, a recent study found that whether people are assigned bail for their state crime charges greatly impacts the rate at which people plea guilty. This link has some questioning just how appropriate it is to continue booking people into jail when they are financially incapable of shelling out hefty fines.

In general, the amount that bail is set at is based upon an alleged criminal charge and not upon a person's actual ability to pay. Even though the law presumes that all defendants are innocent unless proven otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt, 6,800 individuals are currently incarcerated in a single Texas county simply for not being wealthy enough to pay. Advocates for these and other individuals claim that this system unfairly marginalizes the poorest citizens while giving otherwise wealthy alleged offenders a pass to pay up and walk free.

Graffiti garners felony charge for teen boys in Texas

Graffiti from an apparent senior prank landed five teenagers in police custody. The graffiti -- which was spray painted on the building of an opposing high school -- apparently depicted vulgar imagery and included racially charged statements. Each of the five teen boys is currently facing a felony charge for his alleged involvement in the act.

Texas police claim that the graffiti went beyond a simple prank. One of the officers involved in the investigation claims that some of the messages were racially insensitive and featured offensive gender overtones. Not all of the graffiti contained words, and at least one image was supposedly in the shape of male genitalia. Another area that was spray painted eluded to the idea that the graffiti might have been some form of payback for another incident.

Officers charged with drug possession with intent to distribute

Facing any kind of felony drug charge in Texas, whether at the state or federal level, can be one of the most traumatic experiences a person can endure. If the person charged is also a law enforcement officer, the pressure may even be greater due to concerns about incarceration. The recommended sentences for drug possession with intent to distribute are set very high, and many in law enforcement may feel that their sentences could be greater due to the fact they are held to a higher standard than common citizens.

A recent article details the arrest of three Texas law officers and a U.S. Border Patrol agent in a four-year federal drug investigation. Police allege that the four officers have been linked to a large-scale cocaine operation. Each defendant is accused of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute greater than 5 kilograms of cocaine.

Allegedly fake doctor might be on the hook for white collar crime

A woman is accused of falsely presenting herself as a doctor, although the clinic that she operates is currently still open and seeing patients. An investigation by Texas police and the Drug Enforcement Agency was prompted by claims that the woman had stolen the identity of a doctor -- a white collar crime. Although it does not appear as if any criminal charges have been filed yet, she could possibly face significant consequences based on the findings of the ongoing investigation.

According to a former patient, the main doctor at the clinic claimed to be a survivor of stage IV cancer that she had ultimately cured herself. That same patient claims that she shelled out $650 per treatment that cost hundreds of dollars less in a different state. Her partner allegedly researched her background on the internet and came to his own conclusion that she had possibly stolen another person's identity in order to cash in on cancer treatments.

Drug distribution allegations cited in indictment

The popularity of synthetic drugs has risen over recent years, and police have devoted more of their time and resources to those believed to be involved with them. Texas police recently charged 16 people on drug distribution allegations. Authorities claim that those involved had the intent to distribute some synthetic drugs that were in their possession.

Several agencies teamed up to complete the multi-year operation that resulted in the 13-count indictment. Police seized over nine tons of synthetic drugs and millions of dollars during that period of time. The synthetic drugs were supposedly packaged in small bags under various names, including Kush and potpourri, and sold at places like convenience stores and gas stations. Authorities claim that synthetic drugs are causing deaths across the state, but they did not link any of those alleged deaths to the recent arrests.

FBI investigation leads to mail fraud charges for Texas educators

The growing number of standardized tests has caused increase stress for students and educators alike, but recently filed criminal charges claim that one Texas school district did not handle the stress all that well. Five educators from one of the state's school districts are charged with conspiring to commit mail fraud, among other allegations. A federal grand jury recently indicted all five of the educators.

The FBI launched an investigation in Dec. 2010 after learning of a possible cheating scheme going on at the school district. Prior to the FBI's involvement, the district was allegedly already aware of a possible scandal after it was discovered that the transcripts of nearly 80 students had been falsified. The district denied any type of wrongdoing at that time.

Protect your rights with an effective criminal defense

If you have been charged with a crime, your future and freedom are on the line. Even if the charges against you are seemingly minor, a conviction can carry penalties that may have a major impact on several areas of your life. In order to protect your best interests, it is prudent to see to it that a criminal defense is uniquely tailored to your individual goals.

The lawyer that you choose can directly impact the criminal proceedings, including the amount of your bail and the time, if any, that you will spend in jail. Upon arrest or the moment that you learn you may be under investigation, it is important to seek the assistance of a lawyer who is experienced in criminal defense. Our close knowledge of the Texas Penal Code and the criminal justice system gives our clients a distinct advantage during a complex and difficult time.

Blood alcohol content results still pending re university student

Police in Texas arrested a student from the University of Houston after he was allegedly involved in a fatal car accident. Charged with intoxicated manslaughter, the student was recently denied bail, meaning that he will currently be held in police custody at least until he hires counsel, a stipulation handed down by the judge. His blood alcohol content at the time of the wreck has still not been confirmed.

The 23-year-old university student was apparently on his way home from a party in the early hours of the morning. Police believe he was speeding when he attempted to pass another vehicle, taking his pickup truck onto the sidewalk rather than the road for which he had been aiming. A couple happened to be walking along the sidewalk at the time and were hit by the truck. The girlfriend survived with injuries, though her boyfriend was killed.