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White-Collar Crime

Convicted Ex-Judge Says Texas Lawyer Paid Him for Court-Appointed Work

Posted Jun 7, 2012 2:28 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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On Wednesday, federal prosecutors showed a Brownsville, Texas, jury a $5,000 check written in 2008 by attorney Ray Marchan to the wife of Abel Limas, who was then a state district court judge.

The same day in June 2008 that Marchan wrote the check, law enforcement surveillance caught Limas on camera as he walked in and out of Marchan's law office for a brief visit, the Associated Press reports. The feds contend Marchan gave Limas the check in exchange for a favorable ruling on a sanctions motion seeking $21,250 filed by opposing counsel in a case before the judge.

And in a recorded conversation, the San Antonio Express-News reports, Marchan can be heard asking Limas if he should make out a $5,000 check “as a loan to your wife or a loan to somebody.”

On Thursday, the ex-judge himself testified against Marchan, contending that the lawyer gave him kickbacks in exchange for receiving court-appointed work that paid good fees without involving extensive work, the Brownsville Herald reports.

Limas' testimony was supported by recorded phone calls in which he told his wife about expecting money from a Marchan case that he expected to settle soon and arranged to meet with Marchan at his office. Bank records show Marchan got a guardian ad litem payment that same day.

Marchan's racketeering case is the first prosecution to go to trial in a series of cases revolving around the former judge, who has taken a plea but has not yet been sentenced.

Marchan, who is accused of paying $11,000 to Limas in 2008, was simply a well-to-do lawyer loaning money to a friend in need, his lawyer has told jurors.

Previous ABAJournal.com posts provide further details of the case and related matters:

Convicted Judge and Indicted DA are on Witness List in Texas Lawyer’s Federal Racketeering Trial

DA Running for Congress Is Indicted; Feds Say He Ran His Office as a Criminal RICO Enterprise

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