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Houston Legal Blog

Man accused of felony stalking of Houston philanthropist

On her website, Carolyn Farb refers to herself as "The First Lady of Philanthropy in Texas." She lists her various philanthropic endeavors, including efforts on behalf of UNICEF, as well as science and arts organizations in Houston and elsewhere.

A recent news article referred to Farb as a “well-known Houston philanthropist” when it reported that a 61-year-old man was recently arrested for felony stalking and sending her threatening letters.

You could be accused of money laundering

Financial scams sometimes seem obvious, making it easy to wash your hands of them. Other times, they are less recognizable, with well-developed schemes using technology to appear legitimate. Unfortunately, accusations of participating in money laundering may come your way, regardless of your knowledge or intent.

It’s one thing to transfer funds to someone you know. But, especially in business, that isn’t always your only option, as you consistently add new customer accounts and increase your interaction with outside vendors.

Houston area man charged in far-reaching alleged cybercrime

Law enforcement officials say an alleged theft stretches thousands of miles from the suburbs of Houston to Nigeria and on to Louisiana. According to a recent news report, a LaPorte man has been arrested for his involvement in a cybercrime theft of more than $60,000.

Law enforcement officials in Rapides Parish, Louisiana, kicked off the investigation back in August when they were informed that a local resident had been victimized in an internet and phone scam. Police said the person who initially contacted the victim online in fall of 2017 identified himself as a former FBI agent living in Nigeria.

Houston's holiday drunk driving toll

With a new year started and an old one in the rear-view mirror, it's time to take both a look ahead and a look back. Harris County Vehicular Crimes Prosecutor Sean Teare recently provided data that helps us look back at the last few days of 2018.

He said law enforcement officers throughout Harris County and Houston arrested 347 people for drunk driving as 2018 wound down. "It's a sad commentary on our community right now," he said. "We are in the midst of a public health crisis."

Texas drug bust photo goes viral

In today’s world, people and events are sometimes judged by their online presence. When someone or something goes viral, it means that someone or something is important – or at least important enough for people to spend a few seconds viewing on their phones before moving on to the next virtual sensation.

A Texas police department a few hours north of Houston recently learned that going viral is not necessarily a good thing. Tenaha police recently announced on Facebook a trio of felony drug-related arrests. Officials posted a photo of officers standing around a table that contained the items seized in the arrests; items that were quickly mocked by social media users for their meagerness.

Criminal justice reform inches closer to congressional approval

Though the number of Americans in prison is on the decline, it is still remarkably large: 1.5 million. But a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill working its way through Congress would reduce that number on both the front end and back end, news sources report.

The First Step Act would result in shorter prison sentences for some convicted of nonviolent drug offenses and would hasten the early release dates for thousands of current federal prisoners.

Houston Chronicle: CEO arrested on wire and securities fraud charges

Texas-based AriseBank billed itself as “the world’s first decentralized bank.” But the Houston Chronicle reports that federal law enforcement officials recently arrested the CEO of the Dallas firm, alleging that he was part of a cryptocurrency scheme that defrauded investors of more than $4 million.

AriseBank CEO Jared Rice Sr. has been charged with three counts each of wire fraud and securities fraud.

Miranda rights and the right to remain silent

Most adults in Texas have heard the phrase, "you have the right to remain silent." Crime novels, television depictions and movies that involve police often use the phrase to wind up the story as some sort of conclusion of guilt. The phrase is part of the well-known warning of the right to remain silent that the courts impose on police and investigators prior to a "custodial interrogation."

Unfortunately, the phrase is ubiquitous in the entertainment industry. Many people do not understand when Miranda rights are required--and as importantly, when voluntary statements may be used against a person who has not been advised of his or her rights. In many situations, it is a misconception to believe that if the police have not advised a person of their Miranda rights, any statements made cannot be used against them.

Feds make Houston wire fraud arrest

Although the stock market is much more well known, forex (short for "foreign exchange") is a global market where the world's currencies are traded. Media reports say its average daily trading volume exceeds $5 trillion (more than 10 times as much as the average daily volume on the New York Stock Exchange).

We read that law enforcement agents recently arrested a 36-year-old man on federal wire fraud charges involving forex trading.

Wife of Texas doctor arrested for fraud faces charges now, too

Legal problems are piling up fast for a Texas family about six hours south of Houston. A McAllen doctor was arrested back in May on suspicions that he is part of a $240 million health care fraud and international money laundering scheme.

A few days ago, his wife was arrested for conspiracy to commit health care fraud, according to news reports.