Thursday, March 16, 2017
"DWI Dude" Arrested for Scamming Clients out of $1.2 Million
By Alex Zielinski
on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 10:19 AM
Jamie Balagia (also known as the "420 Dude" for his marijuana law expertise) had allegedly convinced clients that he needed $2 million to successfully bribe judges and prosecutors in their drug case. Officials, however, found no evidence of any bribery. According to the Express-News,
Balagia allegedly split the $1.2 million he could scam out of the clients with his co-defendants instead.
Balagia, a former Austin cop who ran as a Libertarian candidate for Attorney General in 2014, was arrested last Thursday during a client meeting in McKinney. He faces up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering and obstruction of justice.
These charges comes two years after Balagia was penalized by the State Bar for illegally holding onto $50,000
of his client's money. His temporarily suspended license had only be reinstated in August 2015.
On his firm's website, Balagia promises he "tries criminal cases...unless the prosecutors 'make an offer we can’t refuse.'" Apparently that doesn't go both ways.
A San Antonio lawyer known as the "DWI Dude" has been arrested on federal charges for swindling $1.2 million from clients in a phony bribery scheme.