Texas Attorney Faces 46 Felony Counts

     (CN) – The attorney who made the most money from court appointments in Bexar County for three consecutive years faces a 46-count indictment accusing her of forging judges’ signatures and overbilling the county, a state prosecutor said.
     Hilda Valadez, 51, faces 46 felony counts of forgery, tampering with a government record, securing the execution of a document by deception and theft by deception, Bexar County Criminal District Attorney Susan Reed said in a statement.
     A San Antonio Express News story in November 2010, headlined “Being a Favorite of Judges Pays,” reported that the county had paid Valadez $403,000 in the past three years for “478 cases she allegedly handled,” according to prosecutors’ statement.
     The Express News reported that Valadez had received the most money from Bexar County court appointments in the previous three years.
     San Antonio is the seat of Bexar County.
     But the 144th District Court found inconsistencies on court-appointed attorney fee vouchers Valadez had submitted and an investigation began in October 2011.
     “Further investigation conducted by the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office uncovered alleged inconsistencies with vouchers purportedly signed by retired 290th District Court Judge Sharon MacRae and 226th District Court Judge Sid Harle,” prosecutors said in the statement.
     “The indictment alleges a total of 22 vouchers that contain signatures that were not authorized by Judges Harle, MacRae, and McGinty for a total of 46 offense counts.”
     If convicted, Valadez faces up to 20 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine on each charge of securing the execution of a document by deception.
     She faces up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine on each charge of theft by deception and forgery, and up to two years in state prison and a $10,000 fine on each charge of tampering with a governmental record.
     A trial date has not yet been set.

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