Wednesday, March 10, 2010

San Antonio Teen Arrested for Printing Fake Money

I am not particularly shocked that a teenager would attempt to print counterfeit money in his bedroom. What does surprise me is that his friend would use this fake currency at the school cafeteria! If you are handed some cash and given the opportunity to spend it at the cash register of your choice, why would you opt for a steak sub and some tater tots? Was the local video game store closed for renovations? In the end, though, there is no relevance to the type of items that were purchased. Creating your own money using a HP Photosmart printer is illegal and can land you in serious trouble.

Seventeen-year-old Jose Roberto Rodriguez of San Antonio was arrested earlier this week after a police officer from the Harlandale Independent School District caught Rodriguez's friend with forged bills in the cafeteria. A subsequent search of Rodriguez's bedroom by the city's police department led to the discovery of $200 in homemade bills.

Rodriguez is now hanging out in a Bexar County jail cell on a $5000 bond. He faces one count of forgery for his counterfeit current operation.

We all know that computer skills are essential for our children. Personal communication, career advancement, and simple life tasks are increasingly tied to technology. However, becoming proficient with a keyboard and a mouse also leads to incidents like this one involving Rodriguez. We should be proud when our children make money using the computer...just not when they do it literally.

Is your child facing accusations of printing out multiple pictures of Benjamin Franklin or Andrew Jackson for the purpose of making some purchases at the mall? Or, are you facing any other criminal charges? The criminal defense attorneys at Bertolino LLP can help. Please contact our Austin, Houston, and San Antonio offices today.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Arrest Made in Murder of Houston Athlete

Quentin Leon McIntyre

The shooting death of DeAndre Elliott late last year affected the entire Houston community. In one instant of violence, a promising athlete who attended Worthing High School was gunned down in front of his girlfriend's house. Elliott was described as a wonderful young man who stayed out of trouble by focusing on academics and athletics and who hoped to play for the University of Florida someday. For several months there were no arrests in Elliott's murder, but that finally changed this week.

It is believed that the primary motivation behind the killing was a carjacking. Elliott drove a vehicle with custom wire-spoke wheels and white wall tires, which are popular trends in current car detailing. He was shot down as he was leaving the residence of his girlfriend, who was the one to find him fatally injured by the bullet wounds. The shooter was seen speeding away in Elliott's car following the murder and investigators found the car several days later.

Quentin Leon McIntyre, who is only a teenager himself, has been charged with the shooting death of DeAndre Elliott. He is already in the Harris County jail on unrelated drug charges and now faces the much more serious charge of capital murder as well and the possibility of having a cell wall as his only scenery for the rest of his life.

There are countless theories concerning why people, particularly young men, in our society are choosing to commit deadly violence for reasons as senseless as car wheels. Whatever the reason, the sad reality is that we have teenagers facing charges of murder every day. If you or a loved one has been accused of this most serious of crimes, you will need an experienced advocate for your rights in court. The criminal defense attorneys at Bertolino LLP can help. Please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office today.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

San Antonio Woman Must Pay Thousands for Downloaded Music

Long gone are the days that teenagers would congregate at the local record store after school to flip through the newest 45s. While LPs may be enjoying a comeback in some DJ booths, you would be hard-pressed to find a turntable as part of a modern stereo system. Some of you may remember spending hours with a pencil trying to re-respool the cassette system that had an unfriendly encounter with a tape player. That problem is no more. You probably won't even see the person on the treamdill next to you with a portable Discman strapped to his waist. Times have changed and digital recordings have revolutionized how we access and enjoy our music. But, if you aren't careful, finding music on your computer also can cost you a lot of money and time in court.

Whitney Harper of San Antonio is facing a judgment of $27,750 for downloading a total of 37 copyrighted songs for free when she was a teenager, perhaps as young as fourteen. Ms. Harper, who is now 22 and a senior at Texas Tech, visited the Kazaa website and insists her subsequent acquisition of music was done with the belief that the practice was completely legal.

Two years ago, U.S. District Court Judge Xavier Rodriguez determined that Ms. Harper was guilty of infringement and the record labels involved in the lawsuit agreed to a payment of $200 for each song. However, when Harper decided to appeal the decision, Warner Bros., Sony, and others optioned their right to push for the maximum fine of $750 a song. Last week, Whitney Harper lost her case in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and she now fears that bankruptcy may be in her future.

Please make sure that you always read the fine print when making a purchase, especially over the internet. If you do find yourself in a legal bind with a judgment against you that you believe to be unfair, our attorneys can help. Bertolino LLP has lawyers in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio with experience at handling appeals on both the state and federal level. Contact us today and we'll discuss the strength of your case.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Eight Houston Men Arrested for Stealing Car Parts

Apparently, Toyota has not suffered enough with its numerous recalls, cars that accelerate to over 100mph without warning, and testimonies from terrified owners in front of a Congressional committee. Eight men in Houston decided to bring more grief upon the troubled company by visiting local dealerships and sawing off brand-new catalytic converters from Toyota Tundras. I am sure the dealership owners in the area must be thinking, "Come on, Honda? Audi? Doesn't anyone else want to take a turn with some of this stuff?"

Houston police have arrested the eight men and charged three of them with engaging in organized criminal activity, while the other five participants have been charged with felony theft. Starting in early November, the men vandalized more than 100 pick-up trucks at four different dealerships in the Houston area. They sold the converters to local scrap metal businesses that paid about $80 for each piece. I have to wonder if the scrap proprietors ever wondered how these same guys kept wearing out so many converters, since parts sold to such places are usually exhausted beyond their usefulness.

I know that times are tough in this economy, but I do not recommend taking some of the tools out of your shed and removing important pieces from vehicles that do not belong to you. However, if you are accused of such an act, you will need experienced legal representation for your day in court. The criminal defense attorneys at Bertolino LLP are ready to help you. Or, maybe you happened to be in the presence of one of your buddies when he took a saw to an engine and his hand slipped. If so, one of our personal injury lawyers is ready to plead your case. Please contact our offices in Austin, Houston, or San Antonio and let's discuss your situation.