(CN) – A Corpus Christi lawyer lost his license for showing up at the door of a woman whose son had just died in a car wreck to make an uninvited, 1 a.m. sales call.
Attorney Benito Garza pleaded no contest last week to one count of barratry, a third-degree felony, in a Jim Wells County district court, according to the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
Garza was sentenced on the spot to 10 years probation and a $6,000 fine, and he lost his license to practice law.
Timothy “Sugar Bear” Trevino, Garza’s case runner, was convicted by a jury Tuesday and sentenced to three years in state prison for one count of felony barratry.
Garza had testified against Trevino as part of his plea
“Soliciting a legal client in a personal injury case immediately after a devastating accident is a crime in the State of Texas,” prosecutors said in the statement. “It is also against the law for lawyers to secure a client’s case by paying off their relatives.
“But that didn’t stop the defendants in this case from making an uninvited 1:00 a.m. appearance at the home of a devastated mother – just hours after her son was killed in a tragic accident – so that they could illegally pitch their personal injury practice to the mourning family.”
Texas state police officers and prosecutors executed a search warrant on Garza’s Corpus Christi law office in 2010 after the grieving mother told AG investigators about the sales call.