Wed March 12, 2014
San Antonio Defense Attorney Pleads Guilty To Theft And Forgery
Hilda Valadez was known around the Cadena-Reeves Justice Center as Bexar County’s highest-paid court-appointed attorney, reportedly receiving more than $400,000 dollars over three years before 2010. She defended indigent clients, often in high-profile murder cases. Now she's on the other side of the law, entering a plea agreement that she hopes will keep her out of prison.
The embattled attorney was indicted in 2012 on 46 counts of theft and forgery charges for falsifying inflated payment vouchers submitted to the courts for her services. The indictments reportedly included forging judges’ signatures and double-billing the county in some cases. The district attorney is quoted in 2012 saying the investigation had uncovered about $120,000 dollars in incorrectly processed vouchers.
Valadez entered a guilty plea after jury selection began in her trial Tuesday. She pled guilty to one count each of Forgery and Securing Execution of a Document by Deception and will face up to ten years in prison when she is sentenced. She also agreed to restitution of $80-thousand dollars. And, according to a statement from the District Attorney’s office, Valadez agreed to debrief to the D.A. and continue to provide information to Federal authorities about other alleged courthouse corruption. The D.A. is opposing probation and will seek prison time for the attorney.
An investigation into Valadez’ documents began after a court clerk noted inconsistencies in the judge's signatures on two reimbursement submitted to then-Judge Angus McGinty’s court. Valadez was an assistant district attorney in the 1990s.