Monthly Archives: September 2018

In August of 2018, the Conroe Police Department took two separate reports of sexual abuse that named Manuel La Rosa-Lopez as the perpetrator.

The reports alleged that over a span of several years in the late 1990’s to early 2000’s, La Rosa-Lopez had sexually abused children while he was assigned to a position at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe Texas.

The investigation led to the issuance of a warrant and La Rosa-Lopez turned himself in to the Montgomery County Jail on 09/11/18. He is charged with four counts of indecency with a child. No other details are being release as this investigation is ongoing.

(Press Release) Shortly before 11:00 am on September 7, 2018, State Representative Ronald Reynolds was sent to the Montgomery County Jail to serve five concurrent one year sentences.  These charges stemmed from a trial that occurred in November of 2015 in which a Montgomery County jury sentenced Reynolds to the maximum penalty allowed, one year in jail and a $4,000 fine, in each of the five counts of misdemeanor Barratry. Judge Mary Ann Turner presided over the week-long trial in County Court at Law Number Four. The jail sentences will run concurrently. Reynolds was originally indicted on felony Barratry charges, but the November 2014 trial ended in a mistrial after the jury convicted Reynolds on six counts of misdemeanor barratry.

The Barratry trial began on Monday, November 16, 2015. Misdemeanor Barratry carries a punishment range of up to one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.

Evidence was presented during trial that during 2012 and 2013 Reynolds provided blank attorney-client contracts to a habitual felon named Robert Valdez, who then solicited clients on Reynold’s behalf and pressured them into signing contracts with Reynolds. Valdez testified that Reynolds would order three clients per week and would pay an average of $1,000 per client that signed the contract. The evidence also revealed that Reynolds, a member of the Texas Legislature, voted to pass Barratry laws in 2011 and 2013. The jury convicted Reynolds on all five counts of misdemeanor barratry on Friday, November 20, 2015 after approximately one hour of deliberations.

During punishment, the jury heard testimony from two separate clients who testified that Reynolds had settled personal injury claims without their consent, collected money without their knowledge, and had never given them any money from the settlement. Both former clients testified that Reynolds signed their names on settlements without them knowing and they had to hire new attorneys to sue Reynolds to recover a portion of the money owed to them. The jury also heard evidence that Reynolds had been suspended by the State Bar of Texas numerous times, had failed to report his campaign and personal finances to the Texas Ethics Commission, had been fined for failing to report those finances, and had multiple default judgments against him for nonpayment of those fines.

During closing arguments, prosecutors Joel Daniels and Lisa Stewart asked the jury to sentence the defendant to jail and not probation, “Probation is a rehabilitation tool. You can’t rehabilitate a callous disregard for people and a deficiency of character.” After the verdict, Chief Prosecutor Joel Daniels said, “Barratry represents a fundamental distortion of the legal system. Lawyers who engage in conduct of this sort denigrate a noble profession.”

After being sentenced to the maximum penalty, Reynolds was remanded into custody by Judge Mary Ann Turner to begin his sentence at the Montgomery County Jail.  Reynolds immediately appealed his convictions and the appeals were assigned to the Court of Appeals of the Eighth District of Texas, located in El Paso.  Reynolds was able to post an appeal bond, which allowed him to get out of jail and remain at liberty until the appellate process was completed.

In an opinion issued on November 29, 2017, the Eight Court of Appeals rejected all of Reynolds’s arguments that his conviction should be reversed and ruled that the convictions and sentences should be affirmed.  After the opinion came down, Reynolds petitioned the Court of Criminal Appeals, the State’s highest criminal court, to review the case.  The Court of Criminal Appeals subsequently denied Reynolds’s petition for discretionary review and sent the case back to the appellate court so that the trial court’s original judgment rendered on the jury’s verdict could be carried out.  Reynolds appeared in County Court at Law Number 4 of Montgomery County, Texas requesting that his appellate bond be revoked to allow him to begin serving out his sentences immediately. Judge Mary Ann Turner granted Reynold’s request.

A woman in the U.S. developed a “black hairy tongue” after a car crash in which she severely injured both her legs. After a week in hospital, her tongue had become discoloured and she reported having nausea and a “bad taste in her mouth.”

The woman’s condition, which has been reported in the NEJM, developed following a motor vehicle crash in which she sustained severe injuries to both of her legs—they had been crushed and an infection developed as a result.

She was treated with antibiotics, specifically minocycline. A week after beginning treatment, her tongue turned black and doctors suspected the minocycline was to blame.

“Black hairy tongue is a benign condition characterized by hypertrophy and elongation of filiform papillae on the surface of the tongue, with brownish-black discoloration,” doctors Yasir Hamad and David K. Warren, from Washington University, St. Louis, wrote in the journal.

“The condition can be associated with multiple factors, including poor oral hygiene, the use of tobacco or irritating mouthwashes, and the receipt of antibiotic agents, particularly tetracyclines. Black hairy tongue is usually reversible and has no long-term sequelae as long as the precipitating agent is discontinued and the patient practices good oral hygiene.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, black hairy tongue is the result of papillae—projections on the tongue—which stop shedding dead skin cells as normal. This causes them to grow longer and makes the tongue look hairy.

Bacteria and debris then collects on the “hairy” papillae and this produces the discoloration. While it can be alarming, the condition is completely benign and normally clears up with good oral hygiene and eliminating any potential causes—such as antibiotics.

In the case of the car crash patient, doctors stopped her taking minocycline and within four weeks, her tongue had returned to normal.

A total of six Houston-area residents have been charged with varying offenses related to disaster assistance in their alleged efforts to defraud the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Small Business Administration (SBA).

U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick made the announcement just after the Gulf Coast region marked the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, the costliest storm in United States history.

“These types of cases are no different than looting during and after a storm,” said Patrick. “Some people try to exploit natural disasters by taking things that aren’t theirs. It is white collar storm looting, and fewer people who actually need assistance get it.”

Five are charged in separate indictments linked to Hurricane Harvey with a sixth stemming from the Houston-area Memorial Day weekend flood in 2015.

The first indictment charges Clinton Booker, 51, of Houston, with engaging in a scheme to defraud the SBA when he applied for and received a disaster loan from the SBA. He allegedly claimed property damage from Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, but his residence had not sustained damage as claimed. According to the indictment, Booker submitted or caused others to submit falsified records to make the claim appear legitimate. Booker received $25,000 from the fraudulent SBA loan. He is charged with one count of fraud in connection with a major disaster and one count of wire fraud for which he faces up to 30 and 20 years in federal prison, respectively.

In a separate, but similar case, Randal Radack, 44, of Spring, allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud the SBA and FEMA when he applied for and received disbursements, claiming property damage from Hurricane Harvey. However, he actually he did not reside at the property during Hurricane Harvey as claimed, according to the allegations.  Radack allegedly received $115,100 from the fraudulent SBA loan and $16,541.38 in fraudulent disbursements from FEMA. Radack is charged with two counts of fraud in connection with a major disaster and five counts of wire fraud for which he faces up to 30 and 20 years in federal prison, on each count, respectively.

According to additional allegations, Humble resident Robert Kaitho, 55, also engaged in a scheme to defraud the SBA. He applied for and received a disaster loan from the SBA, claiming property damage from Hurricane Harvey when his residence had not sustained damage as claimed. According to the indictment, Kaitho used some of the proceeds from the fraudulent SBA loan to pay a credit card company. Kaitho received $53,000 from the fraudulent SBA loan, according to the charges. He is charged with one count of fraud in connection with a major disaster, two counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering.  If convicted of the disaster fraud, he faces up to 30 years in prison, while wire fraud and money laundering carry a punishment of up to 20 and 10 years in federal prison, respectively.

Christopher Howard, 45, of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, did not even reside at his Crosby property at the time of Hurricane Harvey. Nevertheless,  he allegedly applied for and received FEMA disbursements, claiming property damage.  Howard received $30,586.45 in fraudulent disbursements from FEMA as a result of the claim, according to the allegations. He is charged with one count of fraud in connection with a major disaster and four counts of wire fraud for which he faces up to 30 and 20 years in federal prison, respectively.

Patricia Rodriguez, 38, of Houston, also allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud when she applied for and received FEMA disbursements, claiming property damage from Hurricane Harvey. She was not even the owner of the property as claimed, according to the indictment. However, Rodriguez allegedly received $33,300 in fraudulent FEMA disbursements. She also faces a maximum of 30 and 20 years in federal prison, respectively, upon conviction of one count each of fraud in connection with a major disaster and wire fraud.

The final indictment alleges David Boniface claimed property damage from the Memorial Day flood in 2015, when his residence had not sustained damage as he had reported. Boniface, 60, of League City, applied for and received a disaster loan from the SBA totaling $64,200. He submitted or caused others to submit falsified records to make the claim appear legitimate. Boniface is charged with one count of fraud in connection with a major disaster and two counts of wire fraud which carry 30 and 20-years maximum federal prison terms, respectively.

“Fraud cases take time to investigate,” Patrick explained. “One year after the storm my office is actively engaged with DHS and other agencies in similar investigations. This is just the first of what will probably be many cases related to Hurricane Harvey.”

All six people charged today are expected to make their initial appearances before a U.S. magistrate judge in the near future.

The SBA-Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Department of Homeland Security –OIG conducted the investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Day is prosecuting the cases.