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December 2011 Archives

White collar crime in a blue collar setting: insurance fraud

White collar crime is traditionally thought to be a crime committed by an individual who has gained considerable assets in the course of his or her business. That definition may not fit the facts of every insurance fraud case in Texas, though one such white collar crime investigation certainly has a blue collar tint. A Willis man has been accused of committing insurance fraud by hiding his Harley Davidson while claiming it was stolen.The 41-year-old man's insurance company paid him $7,552 after he allegedly filed a claim saying that his 1976 Harley was stolen. A criminal complaint against him claims that the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office was contacted in June 2011 by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The complaint includes documents that purportedly showed that the man filed the claim 10 days after he purchased the insurance policy on July 15, 2008. However, the NCIB claims the former girlfriend of the accused told the Bureau that the motorcycle was stored at her mother's home for a time period after the insurance claim was paid.

Texas man faces arson charges, pleads guilty

Crimes against property are treated seriously in Texas, and this is particularly true in cases in which the crime may have endangered the life of another. Recently, one man was found guilty of intentionally destroying property. It appears that his rationale may have been to "gain status" with the Aryan Brotherhood.Reportedly, on Dec. 28 in 2010, the 26-year-old man from the west Texas town of Crane began a series of racially motivated crimes that ended with arson. The crimes were apparently prompted by his seeing an African-American man in a wheelchair passing by a church. According to reports, the 26-year-old subsequently decided to set fire to the Faith in Christ Church in Crane. He also allegedly hoped that the African-American man would be killed in the fire.

Houston prosecutors using tough tactics on Occupy protestors

As Houston readers are aware, the recent Occupy protests across the country have resulted in a range of reactions from police and local prosecutors. Compared to some cities, the protests in Houston have been somewhat calm. But now Houston authorities are using more aggressive legal tactics against a number of activists. Police have now arrested seven protestors on the criminal charge of using or possessing a criminal instrument. The "criminal instrument" in question is a PVC pipe used by activists to bind themselves together as police attempt an arrest.

Texas man charged with theft of $2,500 in cell phones and pagers

A Texas man is being held in a correctional facility in Pennsylvania after the alleged theft of a number of cell phones and pagers. Police arrested the man for the property crimes on Thanksgiving Day. His bail has been set at $25,000.The 26-year-old man had reportedly arrived on a flight into Pennsylvania late on Nov. 23. He was on his way to an Econo Lodge, where he intended to stay while he worked for a gas company in the area. However, police claim that, as the man waited at the airport, he allegedly stole seven cell phones and 11 pagers from the offices of a local taxi company.

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