White-Collar Crime

Inmate married defense lawyer for help with criminal deeds, authorities say; both are now charged

A longtime Arizona criminal defense lawyer is now herself facing criminal charges after investigators say she was sucked into a client’s illegal schemes.

Carmen Lynn Fischer Garcia, who has practiced in Phoenix since the 1980s, is among four defendants, including her husband, facing dozens of criminal charges concerning alleged prison gang activities and alleged solicitation to commit murder of opposing gang members, the Associated Press and KTAR report. An investigation has been ongoing for two years.

Carmen Garcia is charged with 47 counts, including assisting a criminal street gang, money laundering, and hindering prosecution by destroying evidence.

Her husband, Angel Lopez Garcia, 35, faces 159 counts. Investigators say he married her in 2011 so that he could use her resources and information to which she has access as a lawyer to further his criminal activities.

“This investigation centered on one individual, who while incarcerated was in control of an illegal enterprise and conspired to murder those in rival gangs,” said Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia. Other local, state and federal agencies also participated in the probe.

The AP article doesn’t include any comment from the Garcias or their legal counsel.

An article on the Valley Fever blog of the Phoenix New Times provides additional details. It says Carmen Garcia faces a state bar complaint because another client complained that her relationship with her husband created a conflict of interest in his case.

See also:

Phoenix New Times: “A Hotshot Phoenix Attorney Finds Love Behind Bars”

Pinal County Attorney (press release): “Five served arrest and search warrants and one individual facing 159 counts following indictment filed by Pinal County Attorney”

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