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.