R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Judge charged with felony theft

Law enforcement authorities with the Texas Rangers recently charged a justice of the peace with felony theft between $1,000 and $20,000. Reportedly, the judge was taken into custody on Oct. 13 and later released on a personal recognizance bond. The woman, who is the serving justice of the peace for Brooks County, allegedly wrote a series of checks to illegal game rooms in Falfurrias.

The checks were alleged to have been written since 2012. A number of the checks were returned. While the judge paid for some of the returned checks, there were a number she did not.

When the gaming rooms confronted her about the checks, the judge allegedly told them she didn't have to pay them. The gaming rooms also claim that she told them that they couldn't do anything about her refusal to reimburse them. The checks she had written were discovered during the course of an investigation into illegal gambling activity at the game rooms. If convicted, the judge could go to jail for up to two years and have to pay a fine of up to $10,000. Investigators allege she told them she had a gambling problem.

A theft charge conviction may lead to multiple consequences in addition to incarceration, fines and restitution. People may also face collateral consequences that continue to negatively impact them long after their sentence is completed. Theft convictions may make it more difficult for people to find employment and housing. In the judge's case, a conviction could also lead to her loss of her license to practice law. People who are facing these types of charges may want to meet with an attorney as soon as possible in order to develop an appropriate defense strategy.

Source: My San Antonio, "South Texas judge charged with theft from illegal game room," Rebecca Salinas, Oct. 23, 2015

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