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Ex-Defense Attorney in San Antonio Gets 10 Years

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    NEWSLETTERS

    An ex-defense attorney in South Texas has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in a forgery scam involving legal payments and signatures of judges.

    A visiting judge in San Antonio on Monday sentenced 52-year-old Hilda Valadez. Valadez in March pleaded guilty to forgery and to securing execution of a document by deception in a plea deal.

    Prosecutors alleged Valadez forged the signatures of judges for payment as a court-appointed attorney and some work was not done. A clerk noticed signatures on some payment forms for representing indigent clients appeared different from a judge's signature.

    Records show Valadez was paid nearly $600,000 from 2008 to 2011 as a court-appointed lawyer.

    Visiting Judge Stephen Ables retains jurisdiction for six months, meaning he can at any time commute the sentence to probation.