Texas residents who watch the news likely became familiar with Michael Avenatti in March 2018 when he filed a lawsuit against President Trump over his alleged affair with Stormy Daniels. The forceful litigator quickly became a household name and was even said to be mulling a run for the White House of his own, but those days may have seemed like a long time ago on April 29 when Avenatti appeared in a federal court in Los Angeles charged with multiple counts of embezzlement, bank fraud and wire fraud.
Many Texans are likely following the college admission scandal that has made headlines across the nation. Reports claim that 14 defendants will soon plead guilty to the charges against them in the fraud case. The Department of Justice said that actress Felicity Huffman, a star on the TV series "Desperate Housewives," is among those who plan to admit to paying thousands of dollars to gain unearned benefits for their children in the college admissions process. Huffman will reportedly plead guilty to paying $15,000 to get her older daughter additional time to take the SATs and to have a private proctor administer the test and falsely correct her answers.
Viewers of cable news in Texas may have become familiar with Michael Avenatti over the past year as the lawyer represented an adult entertainment actress in a legal dispute against President Donald Trump. The lawyer now stands accused of attempting to extort millions of dollars from the athletic apparel company Nike. He was arrested after Nike executives alerted federal authorities. He arranged his release from jail with a $300,000 bond. In his statement to the media, he insisted that he would clear his name.
A federal jury in Texas deliberated for four hours before finding a former chief of the La Joya City Police Department guilty on two counts of providing aid and assistance to the Mexican Gulf Cartel's drug distribution activities. The verdicts came at the end of a four-day trial in Hidalgo County. Agents from the Department of Homeland Security became aware of the man's activities when he was employed as a sergeant by the Progreso Police Department.
Texas residents may be interested to learn that a man who formerly worked as a high-ranking corporate secretary for Apple Inc. has been charged with insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the lawsuit, the SEC alleges that the man avoided losses of $345,000 by selling off $10 million in Apple stock. He sold the stock a short period before Apple came out with their earnings in July 2015 that resulted in a 4 percent drop in stock.
Throughout American history, terrorist acts have seldom been carried out by one person acting alone. If Texas residents or others commit a terrorist act or help those who do, they may face significant penalties. For instance, harboring a terrorist could result in a fine and a prison term of 10 years if convicted. Those who provide material support to terrorists could be sentenced to as many as 15 years in prison and be fined.
Bank fraud involves receiving assets from a financial institution through the use of deception. Bank fraud can also be the attempt to do these things. If a person commits bank fraud in Texas, this could refer to a number of different actions. For example, the person might have stolen or forged checks, set up a fake financial institution to take people's deposits or taken out a fraudulent loan.
Many Texas residents have probably heard that a man has been charged in connection with the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that claimed 11 lives on Oct. 27. The man faces 22 federal counts that carry the death penalty, and the U.S. attorney assigned to the case has asked the Department of Justice to allow the death sentence to be imposed. While the death penalty can be imposed for a number of crimes including murder, treason and espionage, only three federal inmates have been executed since 1988.
Four Texas women are facing criminal charges for alleged involvement in voter fraud. The four are accused of targeting senior voters in 2016 as part of an organized voter deception ring. The women would seek to obtain mail ballots for the elderly voters and then submit them for certain candidates. Arrests were made after an investigation by the state Attorney General's office. The names of the candidates who would allegedly receive votes from the scheme have not been released.
A Texas judge sentenced a former Edcouch Police Department lieutenant to 39 months in a federal prison on drug trafficking charges. The sentence was handed down on Oct. 2. The 43-year-old man entered a guilty plea in December 2017 to possessing more than 500 grams of powder cocaine with the intent to distribute after entering into a negotiated plea agreement with prosecutors. Official records reveal that before serving with the EPD, the man worked with the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office and the Elsa, Santa Rosa, Weslaco, Progreso and La Villa police departments.