White-Collar Crime

Attorney Defendant Won't Get Free Lawyer in Courthouse Fraud Case, Texas Judge Rules

A Texas lawyer facing 46 felony counts for based on allegations she double-billed Bexar County for her indigent defense services and forged judge’s signatures now says she herself needs free legal services.

But a prosecutors contended that Hilda Valadez was engaging in “fraudulent indigency” to further benefit herself at the taxpayers’ expense, and a judge ruled on Monday that she doesn’t qualify for a court-appointed defense lawyer, the San Antonio Express-News reports.

Valadez said she’s run through all her savings as she took a sabbatical from practicing law this past year because of the criminal case. Meanwhile, lawyers she has contacted about representing her are quoting hefty fees, she told visiting Judge Stephen Ables, perhaps because they don’t want to take a case that could put them in a contentious position with multiple judges.

“They wanted about $150,000, $200,000,” Valadez said of the private defense lawyers she has contacted. “At this point, I don’t have that kind of money.”

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Texas Lawyer, Known for Indigent Defense, Indicted on Charges of Theft, Forging Judges’ Signatures”

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