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Criminal defense: Texas family accused of running theft ring

Texas authorities recently arrested four people believed to be running a local theft ring. Of those arrested, one is a former police officer while another worked as a librarian at a high school. These types of charges may lead to serious criminal consequences if convictions result, so an early criminal defense plan may be a smart idea.

The 54-year-old former officer allegedly encouraged methamphetamine users to steal from area stores. According to the individuals who carried out the thefts, he would send them Facebook messages directing them to area stores -- including Walmart and Home Depot -- with a list of items that he wanted. Upon receipt, the ex-cop paid them half-price for the items. 

Police believe that he then sold these items on popular online retail websites. Records indicate that he sold items from at least one Amazon account and four different eBay accounts. Only one of the eBay accounts actually had his name, while the other three were listed under his daughter, his stepdaughter and his son. These accounts sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of new-in-box items that authorities say were originally stolen. 

Both the former cop and his son are charged with money laundering more than $300,000, while all four people who were arrested -- including the man's stepdaughter and wife -- are accused of engaging in organized retail theft involving more than $300,000. Alleged criminal law violations that involve such hefty sums can lead to serious consequences, including lengthy prison stays and steep fines. Texas defendants facing such charges are well-advised to begin their criminal defense preparations as early in the process as possible, which usually involves a thorough review of all charges and evidence under the guidance of their respective counsel. 

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John M. Petruzzi, Attorney at Law
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