R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Texas petty officer sentenced on theft charges

The U.S. Attorney's Office investigated approximately $617,000 in purchases made without authorization on government credit cards. The investigation led them to a petty officer with the Coast Guard. The man, now 29 years old, is accused of buying electronics using government credit cards and reselling them.

In Feb. 2013, the man plead guilty to one count of theft of government property. The conviction is based on theft crimes that allegedly occurred in June 2011. Prosecutors claim that the accused purchased two electronic tablets and a high definition television. On April 29, a judge sentenced the man to serve three years in prison and repay the full $617,000 he is alleged to have taken.

It was not stated whether the plea was in response to an agreement made with prosecutors. However, the fact that he was charged with stealing $617,000 and convicted of only $2,700 suggests that the man was able to negotiate a very favorable plea bargain, under the circumstances. This case illustrates one of the ways that a criminal defense attorney may be able to help persons accused of committing a crime in negotiating a favorable plea bargain.

A theft charge can have far-reaching consequences. In addition to possible fines and jail time and being ordered to repay the money, most employers now do background checks before hiring someone. A theft conviction may prevent a person from getting a job in a variety of fields. For that reason, any person who has been accused or of charged with a crime related to theft may benefit from speaking with a local criminal defense attorney about the best way to mitigate the charges.

Source: My Fox Houston, "Coast Guard member in Texas gets prison for theft," April 29, 2013

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