A Bexar County grand jury indicted a San Antonio lawyer on 46 felony counts, alleging that she forged hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fee voucher forms, which attorneys submit to be compensated for representing indigent defendants.
The Aug 23 indictment charges Hilda Valadez with securing the execution of a document by deception $100,000-$200,000; theft by deception $20,000-$100,000; and forgery and tampering with a governmental record.
Valadez denies the allegations in the indictment.
The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office that began in October 2011, when 144th District Court staff discovered inconsistencies on two court-appointed attorney fee expense claims, says Bexar County D.A. Susan Reed.
Reed, a former Bexar County criminal judge who served on the bench for 12 years before being elected DA, says the charges against Valadez are no small matter.
“My goodness. Lawyers, first of all being officers of the courts, we owe honesty to the judges of the court and the system,” Reed says. “And we take an oath to abide the laws and observe and protect the laws honorably. I think it’s important.”
Valadez alleges the indictment is partly the result of personal animosity Reed has for her, which dates back to the early 1990s when Valadez served as a Bexar County assistant DA in then-Judge Reed’s court.
“I was her prosecutor, and she tried to get me fired,” Valadez alleges.
Reed says Valadez’ allegation is “absurd.”
--- John Council