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Agents raid Texas Democrat's offices (of influential Democratic donor to Hillary and other dems)
AP on Yahoo ^ | 1/4/08 | April Castro - ap

Posted on 01/04/2008 7:26:13 PM PST by NormsRevenge

AUSTIN, Texas - Authorities raided the offices of an influential Democratic donor on Friday, prompting accusations by the donor's attorneys that the raid was politically motivated.

The state attorney general's office said it was assisting the Nueces County district attorney in the criminal investigation of Mauricio Celis, 36, who has given money to major Democratic candidates including Hillary Clinton and is the subject of numerous ongoing lawsuits and charges.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, sued Celis in November, accusing him of practicing law without a license. Agents from Abbott's office were among those involved in the Friday search of Celis' Corpus Christi office.

"What is becoming abundantly clear is that we're looking at a political vendetta by an openly ambitious Republican politician in Austin who wants to score points by persecuting a prominent Democrat in South Texas," said Tony Canales, an attorney for Celis.

Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, said the warrant was executed in an ongoing criminal investigation.

"The office of the attorney general, which regularly conducts and supervises complex money laundering investigations, is assisting the Nueces County district attorney with this case," he said.

Celis has a controlling interest in the CGT Law Group of Corpus Christi. Texas law prohibits anyone from owning a controlling interest in a law firm unless he is a licensed lawyer. While Celis is not licensed to practice law in Texas, he has argued that he can legally practice law in Mexico.

The search warrant targeted any records or communications related to the firm's business transactions or finances and authorized investigators to seize and analyze any pertinent information.

The raid was unrelated to Celis' November indictments by a Nueces County grand jury on four charges, including perjury and holding himself out as a lawyer.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Politics/Elections; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: agents; celis; cultureofcorruption; democrat; democrats; democratscandals; hillary; hsu; raid; texas
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1 posted on 01/04/2008 7:26:20 PM PST by NormsRevenge
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if the hsu fits..

you can’t acquits..


2 posted on 01/04/2008 7:28:07 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: NormsRevenge

The AP reported this? Hah! Must be some sort of mistake!!


3 posted on 01/04/2008 7:28:44 PM PST by ButThreeLeftsDo (Tracking The "Flyin' Imams" since 11/20/06)
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To: NormsRevenge

Wonder if Mauricio Celis had any interests tying him to drug trafficking on the Texas-Mexico border.


4 posted on 01/04/2008 7:30:03 PM PST by SatinDoll (Fred Head and proud of it!)
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To: SatinDoll

“”What is becoming abundantly clear is that we’re looking at a political vendetta by an openly ambitious Republican politician in Austin who wants to score points by persecuting a prominent Democrat in South Texas,” said Tony Canales, an attorney for Celis. “

Paging Ronnie Earle. Ronnie Earle to the green room please.


5 posted on 01/04/2008 7:33:38 PM PST by EQAndyBuzz (Hunter Thompson in 08.)
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To: NormsRevenge
Something to smile about


6 posted on 01/04/2008 7:34:22 PM PST by ElkGroveDan (I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired of all the politics in politics.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Whew!! From the title of the thread I thought he violated McCain/Feingold.


7 posted on 01/04/2008 7:35:16 PM PST by no dems (FRED THOMPSON: The only Conservative running who can beat Hillary or Obama.)
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To: NormsRevenge

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A Democratic Party donor accused of posing as a lawyer is asking a judge to let him travel to Mexico to handle a legal battle there.

Mauricio Celis surrendered his passport as a condition of bail after he was charged with perjury and other counts last month.

He’s also being sued by the Texas Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee and the Texas attorney general on claims that the law firm he operated improperly shared legal fees.

But his attorneys say his presence in Mexico has become necessary. The 36-year-old Corpus Christi businessman has claimed he can legally practice law in Mexico. A date for a hearing on the bail motions hasn’t been set.

Attorneys have requested that the hearing be by telephone because they want to move fast and fear being unable to contact witnesses in Mexico over the holiday season.

http://www.kvia.com/global/story.asp?s=7513283 Dec 18, 2007


8 posted on 01/04/2008 7:35:27 PM PST by AmericanMade1776
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To: NormsRevenge

Once again Hillary’s brain is in a blender. It’s jello!


9 posted on 01/04/2008 7:36:03 PM PST by Man50D (Fair Tax, you earn it, you keep it! Duncan Hunter is a Cosponsor.)
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To: NormsRevenge

I just love it when the libs/socialists start dining on their own.


10 posted on 01/04/2008 7:36:47 PM PST by Don Corleone (Leave the gun..take the cannoli)
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To: EQAndyBuzz

Vendetta my ruffled pink panties!!


11 posted on 01/04/2008 7:37:45 PM PST by SatinDoll (Fred Head and proud of it!)
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To: NormsRevenge

The new race card: Political.

If I’m a Dem, Rep officials can’t touch me?


12 posted on 01/04/2008 7:38:11 PM PST by bannie (Jimminy Cricket is hollering, "Beware!!! clintons CHEAT!")
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To: AmericanMade1776

No! No! No!

Don’t let him slip away to Mexico: authorities will never get him back into this country.


13 posted on 01/04/2008 7:39:19 PM PST by SatinDoll (Fred Head and proud of it!)
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To: NormsRevenge

“While Celis is not licensed to practice law in Texas, he has argued that he can legally practice law in Mexico.”

Sorry that doesn’t make you an attorney in the United States or Texas. But it’s a nice damn try from a “Mexican attorney.


14 posted on 01/04/2008 7:39:19 PM PST by lawdog
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To: NormsRevenge
More:

CORPUS CHRISTI — Investigators from the Texas Attorney General's Office served a search warrant Friday on the law offices of CGT International Law Group, removing boxes of financial documents, including tax returns.

The firm's owner, Mauricio Celis, was indicted in November by a Nueces County grand jury on charges of impersonating a lawyer and a police officer. The attorney general sought an injunction in October against the firm, alleging that Celis misrepresented himself as an attorney and asking a judge to shut the firm down.

Friday's raid is an indication that the state is considering criminal charges.

The raid came one day after investigators interviewed accountants for Celis.

Caller

15 posted on 01/04/2008 7:41:29 PM PST by SouthTexas (Happy New Year!)
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To: doug from upland; LucyT; Mr Apple; calcowgirl; Liz

popcorn?


16 posted on 01/04/2008 7:43:35 PM PST by Calpernia (Hunters Rangers - Raising the Bar of Integrity http://www.barofintegrity.us)
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To: Calpernia; The Spirit Of Allegiance; penowa; Old Sarge; justiceseeker93; potlatch; devolve

Thanks Calpernia, Yes, please pass the popcorn.


17 posted on 01/04/2008 8:08:22 PM PST by LucyT
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To: LucyT; devolve

Thanks Lucy. Norman Hsu was just sentenced to three years, maybe we can get a domino effect going here, lol.


18 posted on 01/04/2008 8:14:00 PM PST by potlatch ("Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we might as well dance!")
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To: potlatch

19 posted on 01/04/2008 8:28:00 PM PST by devolve (---- - Hey Boone! - My bonus check is late again! -)
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To: devolve

Lol, you are fast tonight!!


20 posted on 01/04/2008 8:30:37 PM PST by potlatch ("Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we might as well dance!")
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To: lawdog

I eat Mexican food. Does that make me a Mexican chef? Can I go to Mexico city and cook in a restaurant? Oh, I forgot. They won’t let Americans do jobs other Mexicans are doing, in either country.

That means we can’t be illegal immigrants; drug smugglers; coyotes; prostitutes; gun runners; terrorists, etc.

Gee, thanks Mexico. You’re keeping us on the straight and narrow.

I wonder of Celis got his law license at TACO BELL or Chi-Chi’s Restaurant and Law School?

This is gonna be good!


21 posted on 01/04/2008 8:38:25 PM PST by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper (Madmax, the Grinning Reaper)
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To: Calpernia; doug from upland; LucyT; Mr Apple; calcowgirl; potlatch; Tennessee Nana
CORPUS CHRISTI — The Texas AG's Office served a search warrant on the law offices of CGT International Law Group, removing boxes of financial documents, including tax returns. The firm's owner, Mauricio Celis (a Mexican national), was indicted in November on charges of impersonating a lawyer and a police officer. Friday's raid is an indication the state is considering criminal charges. The raid came one day after investigators interviewed accountants for Celis.

A Mexican national in the US impersonating a lawyer and a police officer.

So did authorities figure out how many identities this guy has?

How many SS numbers he has?

How many US govt benefits he's collecting under different identities?

How much money he's sent back to Mexico via Western Union or by other electronic means?

How many places he's registered to vote and how many times he's voted using different identities?

No, authorities can't ask his immigration status b/c that's a federal matter (/sarc).

However, they can nail him for fraudulently filing official documents to obtain voting status, US govt benefits, SS cards, IRS refunds, driver's licenses, bank loans, mortgages, commercial licenses, education benefits........etc.

Moreover, if he fraudulently voted on referendums involving taxing issues for US citizens, that could entail severe L/E issues.

22 posted on 01/04/2008 8:41:45 PM PST by Liz (Rooty's not getting my guns or the name of my hairdresser.)
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To: AmericanMade1776

Is Celis a Mexican citizen (can anyone practice law in Mexico who is an American citizen)?

If not, isn’t it illegal for a foreign national to give or raise money for U.S. politicians?

Oh, I forgot. He’s a democrat. Paging Hsu, Riady, Buddhist nuns, and any Red Chinese operative in California.

Paging Al Gore - There is an envelope for you at the Buddhist temple. Remember to take off your shoes before entering.


23 posted on 01/04/2008 8:42:45 PM PST by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper (Madmax, the Grinning Reaper)
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To: potlatch

.

Not sure if I did a “combo” of that updated .gif of Hillary where you stuffed cash in her pockets


24 posted on 01/04/2008 8:42:47 PM PST by devolve (---- - Hey Boone! - My bonus check is late again! -)
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To: devolve

Don’t think I’ve seen that one in awhile. Lost in the mass of files, lol.

Not thinking of the “Money Honey” song, are you? heh. I posted it with Hill and Hsu before.


25 posted on 01/04/2008 8:45:52 PM PST by potlatch ("Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we might as well dance!")
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To: Liz

I just love these stories.


26 posted on 01/04/2008 8:46:06 PM PST by doug from upland (Stopping Hillary should be a FreeRepublic Manhattan Project)
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To: EQAndyBuzz
Paging Ronnie Earle.

Spot-on.

“Political vendetta by an openly ambitious Republican politician in Austin” takes the cake for chutzpah.

27 posted on 01/04/2008 8:46:34 PM PST by dighton
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To: Calpernia
popcorn?

Buttered, please! :-)

28 posted on 01/04/2008 8:52:40 PM PST by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: Liz; devolve

So many questions and so few answers - [that we’ll ever find out probably].

They are starting to do better down here at actually rounding up illegals when it’s obvious they’re illegals.

I had an neighbor from England live next door to me for years with an expired visa and the city knew it.

A crooked influential Mexican dem donor will probably go scott free.

Thanks for the ping Liz


29 posted on 01/04/2008 8:55:36 PM PST by potlatch ("Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we might as well dance!")
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To: EQAndyBuzz

Exactly. Ronnie Earle wrote the book on political vendettas—ask Tom Delay.


30 posted on 01/04/2008 8:58:13 PM PST by twntaipan (To say someone is a liar and a Democrat is to be redundant.)
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To: potlatch

.

ChiCom bucks
Saudi bucks
Mex bucks

But now the booze/boos.....


31 posted on 01/04/2008 9:04:14 PM PST by devolve (---- - Hey Boone! - My bonus check is late again! -)
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To: devolve

Lol, Hillary was probably into the booze last night and she got BOOOOS today!! Bet that was a shock to her ego, another one I mean!


32 posted on 01/04/2008 9:07:15 PM PST by potlatch ("Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we might as well dance!")
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To: NormsRevenge

FR thread from last November on this guy:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1927392/posts


33 posted on 01/05/2008 5:45:56 AM PST by jdm
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To: NormsRevenge; SatinDoll; pinkpanther111; Jaded; Tigen; flattorney; bigjoesaddle; FryingPan101; ...

State raids office of Celis

Saturday, January 5, 2008

CORPUS CHRISTI — Mauricio Celis is linked to the Mexican drug trade in a search warrant the state used Friday to raid his law offices and gather computer files, according to financial documents and other business records. The warrant includes a sworn statement by a Texas Attorney General’s official accusing Celis of money laundering.

http://www.caller.com/news/2008/jan/05/state-raids-office-of-celis/

If you want on, or off this S. Texas/Mexico ping list, please FReepMail me.


34 posted on 01/05/2008 8:21:23 AM PST by SwinneySwitch (US Constitution Article 4 Section 4..shall protect each of them against Invasion...domestic Violence)
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To: NormsRevenge

I want Greg Abbott as next TX gov, NOT KBH!


35 posted on 01/05/2008 8:39:26 AM PST by devane617 (Stop Illegal Immigration. Call your Senator today. Senate Switchboard at 202-224-3121.)
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To: NormsRevenge

The Clintons are in trouble. Really, unbelievable.


36 posted on 01/05/2008 8:41:24 AM PST by dforest (Duncan Hunter is the best hope we have on both fronts.)
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To: SwinneySwitch; NormsRevenge
I was going to post this story, but when I got to my computer I found this ping in my browser. Looks like other (out of state) news agencies are following it now. Even the Caller-Times felt obligated to put Celis name in the headline and on the front page even if it was below the fold near the bottom of the page.

In the past the Caller-Times avoided giving prominence to this story and the names of people connected to Celis. In the 2006 election cycle he donated over $30,000 to the winning campaign of a DemocRAT challenger, Juan Garcia to a long term incumbent in the Texas legislature. This challenger had the complete backing of the Caller-Times editorial staff and news reporting staff. Local Republican activists complained about about irregularities in this campaign's expenditures. In particular there was a letter sent out by the candidate's wife on her personal stationary to at least 10,000 recipients with no mention of who paid for that letter. The postage alone was over $4,000, and it apparently didn't come out of her personal funds. The Caller-Times editorial page dismissed the complaints about the letter as "sour grapes". Now that the Celis case has broken, local Republican leaders have Rep. Juan Garcia return all contributions from Celis, but he only has donated a few thousand dollars in unspent funds to a charity.

Not long after the Celis story broke, a local very wealthy trial lawyer, Mikal Watts, who was self funding a campaign for the the DemocRAT nomination for the US Senate seat held by John Cornyn, dropped out of the senate race. There's lots of speculation that the Watts Law Firm was getting lots of referrals from Celis.

The Caller-Times doesn't seem very eager to cover this story and the stories connected to it. It has been papers in San Antonio, the San Antonio Express, and Houston, the Houston Chronicle, that have take the lead in following it. The Caller-Times just runs me too stories to prevent loss of all credibility. They seem to be eager not to connect the dots between Celis and lawyers and politicians and the money going between them. Who do the editors at the Caller-Times want to protect, and why. Do they have a conflict of interest?

37 posted on 01/05/2008 9:45:44 AM PST by Paleo Conservative (I'm not celebrating Kwanza!)
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To: NormsRevenge

Just more news you’ll never see on the NBC or CBS evening News....


38 posted on 01/05/2008 9:57:35 AM PST by tcrlaf (VOTE DEMOCRAT-You'll look great in a Burka!)
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To: devolve

Isn’t Celis a Mexican National and doesn’t that make his donations to US Politicians, ILLEGAL?


39 posted on 01/05/2008 11:41:40 AM PST by iopscusa (El Vaquero. (SC Lowcountry Cowboy))
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To: NormsRevenge
Only the tip of the iceberg. I’m of the opinion there is no way drug trafficking across the border can be as prolific as it is without assistance by key government officials on this side of the border.
40 posted on 01/05/2008 1:09:57 PM PST by backtothestreets (My bologna has a first name, it's J-O-R-G-E)
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To: backtothestreets

Yes. You’re 100% correct.

There is a good reason why Texas politicos don’t want the border fence. It will cut off the money machine.


41 posted on 01/05/2008 10:38:46 PM PST by SatinDoll (Fred Head and proud of it!)
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To: NormsRevenge; SwinneySwitch; doug from upland; ElkGroveDan; SouthTexas; Calpernia; ...
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Re: Mauricio Celis Latest
From: FlAttorney, Chairman SFAF

The FBI is on this with the Texas State AG's office and they have been for some time. Nueces County District Attorney Carlos Valdez is the same DA that prosecuted Yolanda Saldivar for the cold-blooded murder of tejano super-star Selena (Too bad under Texas law Saldivar could not have received the death sentence for killing that kid. What a senseless loss of incredible talent.) Valdez is a raw meat bulldog, loves public attention, and is perfect for this Mauricio Celis case. The problem is Celis has many of the local judges in his pocket along with the Corpus Christi MSM newspaper.

The list and amounts of Celis donations to Democrats, both State and National including Hillary Clinton, is long and substantial. I understand Celis is having “memory problems”. To get MauRICO to start telling everything he knows, I think he should be put back into a general population holding cell and all the other inmates in the cell given a box of Cialis to do whatever they want with the guy. A lil’ South Texas justice would go a long way with Celis who will skip the Country back to Mexico the second he gets a clear opportunity.

FYI, the FR Celis threads were added to my Hillary Clinton section. The Tom DeLay section was also updated today, with DeLay related news threads posted. - See Tom DeLay section on FlAttorney's FR "Straight Talk" page

Posted for FlAttorney by MAR

42 posted on 01/06/2008 6:32:18 AM PST by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney

thank you


43 posted on 01/06/2008 6:39:23 AM PST by Calpernia (Hunters Rangers - Raising the Bar of Integrity http://www.barofintegrity.us)
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To: flattorney
The problem is Celis has many of the local judges in his pocket along with the Corpus Christi MSM newspaper.

Fortunately this case is being handled by a judge from San Antonio.

44 posted on 01/06/2008 6:45:39 AM PST by Paleo Conservative (I'm not celebrating Kwanza!)
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To: flattorney

I really hope they roll with it, but somehow I tend to doubt anything will come out of this. It will just slowly fade away into nothing.


45 posted on 01/06/2008 7:24:53 AM PST by SouthTexas (Happy New Year!)
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To: NormsRevenge; SwinneySwitch; doug from upland; ElkGroveDan; SouthTexas; Calpernia; ...
I’ll pitch these two posts on the FR pile – FlA
-----------

01.05.08: The facts will prove that Mauricio Celis - - I/we call him MauRICO, like in the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act - - is a campaign donations bundler, like Norman Hsu and the Paw Family, for Hillary Clinton & other Dems. - FlA

Corpus Christi - - Sworn statements in a Zapata County lawsuit provide a view into the world and business dealings of Mauricio Celis, the embattled law firm operator accused of impersonating a lawyer and sheriff's deputy. Those statements by Celis in May claim that he is, indeed, a sheriff's deputy, that he has the clearance and credentials to practice law in Mexico and that he has found legal means to operate a law firm in Texas. Celis, a major donor to Democratic causes in South Texas and nationally, was relatively unknown to the public until a series of bizarre events thrust him into the limelight last month. On Sept. 17, a nearly nude woman fled his Kings Crossing home and Celis, 35, appeared on the scene flashing a Duval County sheriff's badge, asking that the woman be turned over to him, according to police reports. Celis' law enforcement credentials expired in 2003.

01.05.08: Celis Now Accused of Laundering Millions - FlA

AG Executes Search Warrant for CGT Law Offices
Texas Lawyer by Brenda Sapino Jeffreys
Friday, January 4, 2008

Mauricio Celis, the majority partner in Corpus Christi’s CGT Law Group International who faces civil litigation and criminal charges that he falsely held himself out as a lawyer, may have committed the “felony offense of money laundering,” an investigator for the Texas Office of the Attorney General alleges in an affidavit used to obtain a warrant to search CGT offices on Jan. 4. [Note: Investigators raided Celis' eighth floor office in the Prosperity Bank building Friday, where his firm, CGT law group, operated. <> Aw yes, Prosperity Bank a.k.a. Prosperity Bancshares and the Zalman brothers cartel, no surprise here - FlA]

Capt. Alex Pena, a Texas peace officer working for Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office, alleges in an Affidavit for Search Warrant that the AG’s office learned, after a “routine financial database check” on Celis and CGT, that Celis withdrew more than $7.8 million in cash from various banks in the Nueces County area over the past seven years, and that on many occasions he traveled to Mexico shortly after withdrawing large sums of cash. “Affiant [Pena] learned that in addition to leading a flamboyant lifestyle, Mauricio Celis is rumored to be associated with questionable criminal element possibly related to drug trafficking,” Pena alleges in the affidavit presented today to 319th District Judge Thomas Greenwell. Pena alleges that records obtained from Frost Bank reveal that Celis and Raul Armando Winder, a Mexican citizen, opened a joint account in January 2005 styled Pegasus Air Services, and that Texas Secretary of State filings indicate Pegasus is owned by Celis. “On the bank application, Raul Armando Winder is listed as vice president. Mexican intelligence states that Winder is known as a pilot with extensive travel history in and out of Mexico and the U.S. He is a former Mexican Police Officer and has been employed as a pilot in the past by certain individuals linked to narco-trafficking,” Pena alleges in the affidavit.

Greenwell issued the search warrant on the morning of Jan. 4, and by the afternoon, Pena had filed an Evidence Inventory List. According to the list prepared by Pena, the Office of the Texas Attorney General, Financial Crimes Division, obtained a large number of financial and corporate documents. The search warrant authorized Pena to obtain documents from CGT and several other companies that allegedly did business out of the same offices on Water Street in Corpus Christi, including Celis Oil and Gas, Tapatio Inc., Celis Southside Investments and Celis Investments. The warrant authorized Pena to obtain information relating to individuals “who assisted with legal claims by CGT,” or were referred to other attorneys by CGT. It also authorized Pena to obtain all flight logs or flight data, whether in electronic or paper form, including destinations, passengers and crew, dates of flights, times of flights and reasons for flights.

J.A. “Tony” Canales, Celis’ criminal-defense attorney, did not immediately return a telephone message left at his office in Corpus Christi. However, he issued a written statement on the afternoon of Jan. 4, characterizing the search as a “politically motivated abuse of power” and a “violation of the grand jury system.” He pointed out that Celis is a prominent Democrat and Abbott is a Republican. “A local grand jury has already acted on these allegations that we look forward to beating in court. And now here comes this Republican down form Austin taking over the grand jury to play Ken Starr,” Canales, a partner in Canales & Simonson, says in the statement.

In a written statement on Jan. 4, Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for Abbott, says the AG’s office executed the search warrant as part of an ongoing criminal investigation with the Nueces County District Attorney’s Office. “The Office of the Attorney General, which regularly conducts and supervises complex money laundering investigations, is assisting the Nueces County District Attorney with this case,” Strickland says in the statement. Nueces County DA Carlos Valdez did not immediately return a telephone message.

Other Legal Woes - - In November, a Nueces County grand jury indicted Celis on 10 criminal charges; seven counts of falsely holding himself out as a lawyer, one count of aggravated perjury, one count of impersonating a public servant and one count of theft. Celis also faces civil litigation, including a suit filed in state district court in Nueces County in November by the Texas Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, alleging CGT and Celis engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. In October, the AG’s office filed a suit in Travis County alleging Celis has engaged in the unauthorized practice of law and that CGT has permitted “non-lawyer” Celis to share in legal fees and referral fees paid to CGT. [See “Committee Sues Celis, Firm, Alleging Unauthorized Practice of Law,” Texas Lawyer, Dec. 3, 2007, page 1.] (1)

The AG’s office provided file-stamped copies of the search warrant, inventory and affidavit, but declines comment beyond Strickland’s statement. In the affidavit, Pena alleges that he believes evidence of Celis’ alleged money laundering can be found in computer files and other documents stored in the office of former CGT employee Lee A. Trujillo, who had been controller, bookkeeper and accountant for CGT. “That records will be in ‘Quick Book’ program that Trujillo described. Files to be found will be Vendor Payable files, Bank statement reconciliation, Tax return files, Payroll reports, W-2s and other financial data related to fraud, illegal representation as an attorney and possibly drug trafficking,” Pena alleges in the affidavit. According to Pena’s affidavit, Trujillo told him on Jan. 3 that Trujillo had “effectively resigned” from CGT and was in the process of vacating his office, along with “everyone else.” Pena alleges that all employees of CGT have been asked to vacate their office by Jan. 6. CGT’s Web site was not working on Jan. 4, and neither were its phone lines. An attempt to reach Celis on his cell phone was unsuccessful.

FOOTNOTES – FlA
A1. 12.03.07 Texas Lawyer: Committee Sues Celis, Firm, Alleges Unauthorized Practice of Law
A2. 12.03.07 Texas Lawyer: Plaintiff's Petition - UPCL vs Celis
B. 11.16.07 Texas Lawyer: Mauricio Celis Indicted on 10 Criminal Counts
C. All Texas Lawyer Celis Articles

http://www.law.com/jsp/tx/PubArticleTX.jsp?id=1199441132736

46 posted on 01/06/2008 10:47:39 AM PST by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: Paleo Conservative; NormsRevenge
01.05.08: I believe the correct judicial legal terminology here is “corrupt circle jerk in the first degree”. – FlAttorney

Source: TDCAA - Texas District & County Attorneys Association

Mauricio Celis Surrenders; 2 Judges Recused
- - After tussle over flight risk, bail is set at $50,000
Corpus Christi Caller Times, by Dan Kelley and Denise Malan, November 20, 2007

CORPUS CHRISTI — Mauricio Celis surrendered to authorities Monday after two judges, one on Friday and another Monday afternoon, recused themselves during bail hearings. In the end, Judge J. Manuel Bañales set bail at $50,000. District Attorney Carlos Valdez had asked for $1 million bail, saying Celis was a flight risk to Mexico. Jail officials late Monday said Celis was released.

Celis, 36, was indicted Friday on charges of theft, perjury, impersonating a lawyer and impersonating a police officer. The case was randomly assigned Friday to Judge Marisela Saldaña, who recused herself and delayed proceedings until Monday. A second judge, Nelva Gonzales Ramos, was assigned Monday solely to set bail. Celis attorney Tony Canales sought her recusal, which she denied, setting the stage for a hearing in which another judge would decide the matter. She later signed an order formally recusing herself from the case, clearing the way for Bañales to hold a bail hearing. Judges do not have to state the reason for recusal on the orders they sign. Texas court rules state that judges should recuse themselves during any proceeding in which their impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

Celis is a major Democratic campaign donor in Texas. Since 2002, he and his law firm have contributed to the campaigns of three sitting district judges in Nueces County: $9,500 to Saldaña, $5,000 to Robert Galvan and $2,500 to Sandra Watts, according to the Texas Ethics Commission. A judge has not been assigned to hear the criminal case.

Gonzales Ramos was the latest in a string of recusals in civil and criminal cases involving Celis. The District Clerk's Office assigns cases randomly to judges. If judges recuse, a presiding judge -- Bañales in this region -- assigns another judge. Gonzales Ramos previously recused herself from a case Celis filed against personal injury lawyer Thomas J. Henry and KRIS-TV for airing ads alleging Celis was not licensed to practice law. Bañales assigned Judge Leonel Alejandro to that case, which was later dropped.

Saldaña recused herself in the bond hearing against Celis. In September, Saldaña signed a restraining order after-hours barring the television commercials Henry aired against Celis. She had received campaign contributions from both Celis and Henry and has said her decision to sign the order at a restaurant on a Friday evening was not political or out of the ordinary.

Robert Vargas, Nueces County Court at Law No. 1 judge, recused himself from a case a local woman filed alleging Celis acted as her attorney. Henry is her attorney in the case against Celis. Bañales assigned Kleberg County Court-at-law Judge Martin Chiuminatto Jr. to hear the case.

District Judge Joe Lopez in Zapata County recused himself from a case in which a McAllen law firm is disputing attorney fees sought by Celis and his firm, CGT Law Group International. Retired District Judge Gus Strauss is hearing that lawsuit.

That Zapata County case was originally filed in Nueces County, where it went through three judges about a year ago. Nueces County Court-at-Law No. 2 Judge Lisa Gonzalez recused herself, then CGT objected to assigned Judge Henry G. Schuble III, whom the state Supreme Court chief justice had assigned. The justice assigned a third judge, Daniel Robles of Cameron County, before the case was moved to Zapata County.

For most defendants, bail hearings are routine affairs, but Monday's proceedings saw a few fireworks as Celis' lawyers complained about the prosecution's request for $1 million bail. Celis remained silent for most of the proceedings, reading a law book while waiting for a hearing to begin and nodding when his lawyer sparred with prosecutors. He spoke out once in his own defense, while reciting his history as a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. "I don't appreciate the fact that the prosecution is treating me like a second-class citizen," he said, as his lawyers tried to hush him. Canales said his client had made himself available to surrender at any time since indictment.

Bañales also made a condition of bail that Celis place a sign at the offices of his firm, CGT Law Group International, that states Celis is not a lawyer. Three CGT lawyers have formed a new firm, Gwyther, Hada & Associates, at the same address to handle CGT's cases. Defense attorneys argued that the sign would harm the firm's practice, but Bañales denied their objection. Celis also must surrender his passport and any firearms he owns, submit to a 9 p.m. curfew and pre-trial supervision and refrain from drinking alcohol.

47 posted on 01/06/2008 10:54:04 AM PST by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
Celis Background Article
------------

Mauricio Celis; Clash is one for the law books
San Antonio Express-News by John MacCormack
October 05, 2007

CORPUS CHRISTI — For years, Mauricio Celis has enjoyed all the trappings of a successful South Texas lawyer, from a private jet and exotic cars like Ferraris and Bentleys, to a spacious downtown office with a sweeping view of the marina. Owner of a law firm that regularly refers high-dollar cases to the city's most powerful litigators, Celis developed a reputation as a generous player, handing out fat checks to Democratic candidates, hosting fundraisers and serving on the board of Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi.

Born in Mexico, raised in Rockport, educated in Monterrey, Mexico, and for a while apparently in the air-conditioning business, Celis seemed a South Texas version of the classic American success story. But the story line took a bad turn on Sept. 28, when Thomas Henry, a Corpus Christi lawyer, appeared on a local television station and denounced Celis, 35, as a fraud. "Mauricio Celis with the law firm of CGT Law Group International does not have a law license in the state of Texas nor does he have a license to practice law anywhere in the world," announced Henry in the paid TV spot. "If you have hired this law firm, you may be entitled to a refund of all the attorneys fees paid. Contact me immediately," he said.

Celis quickly sued Henry and the TV station that ran the spot, obtaining a temporary restraining order that knocked the ad off the air. A hearing on the matter is set for Wednesday in state district court. Celis said a slander suit would follow. "He was wrong in his statements. I have never represented myself to be a lawyer in Texas," Celis said by phone in a brief interview this week. "I'm the general manager and chief administrator. I don't practice law. My office co-litigates cases with other firms," he said, declining to comment further.

Celis said his CGT Law Group International has working branch offices in Beverly Hills, Calif.; Phoenix; Washington, D.C.; Mexico City; and Chihuahua, Mexico. However, attempts to confirm the existence of these offices through public records were unsuccessful.

Even before Henry's public call-out, Celis was at the center of a bizarre Sept. 17 incident in which a naked 25-year-old woman ran into a Corpus Christi convenience store about 4 a.m., initially claiming she was fleeing a sexual assault. According to police, Celis appeared in a bathrobe, flashed a sheriff's deputy badge from nearby Duval County and told officers he would take custody of the woman. The woman and Celis told police she and others had been drinking and ended up in the hot tub at Celis' house. "Mr. Celis then stated that (the woman) all of a sudden jumped out of the pool and ran out of the house," a police report states. The woman claimed she had been groped in the tub but didn't file a complaint. The Nueces County Sheriff's Office is investigating whether Celis can be charged with impersonating a police officer or interfering with an investigation, a department spokeswoman said. Celis, a Duval County reserve deputy, could not be reached for comment on the episode.

Longtime questions - - Questions about his legal credentials had long circulated in South Texas. In a deposition this spring over disputed legal fees, one lawyer put it bluntly to the presiding judge. "What we are trying to do ... is prove that CGT International is, in fact, a sham law firm operating illegally, and is nothing more than a runner ambulance-chasing referral organization that has a history of referring cases that they have solicited improperly, and sent off to other lawyers," said lawyer Ray Thomas. Henry said he waited months for various authorities — including the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Supreme Court's committee on unauthorized practice of law — to respond to his written complaints. Henry said he also complained to the attorney general and to the Nueces County district attorney. Calls made this week seeking comment from officials contacted by Henry were not returned.

In Texas, the unauthorized practice of law is a felony. It is also illegal for lawyers to share fees with non-lawyers or for non-lawyers to own an interest in a law firm, with certain narrow exceptions. And according to the State Bar, Celis is not licensed to practice law in Texas. Still, newspaper articles and even Texas Monthly have regularly identified him as a lawyer. In a 2006 story in the Chicago Tribune, Celis is described as the "family attorney" of the survivors of a tragic house fire, and is quoted speaking poignantly about their loss. Until this week, his firm's Web site and stationery repeatedly identified him as an attorney, licensed to practice law variously in Mexico, California or Washington, D.C. Those references on the site were deleted after Henry's accusation aired. Celis claims he has a law license from Mexico, and has the right to own and operate a law firm in Texas because it is affiliated with one he owns in Washington.

However, according to a heavyweight lineup of legal experts consulted by Henry, Celis should not be operating a law firm in Texas and other firms should not be accepting case referrals from him. Among other conclusions reached by retired Texas Supreme Court Justice Craig Enoch, St. Mary's University Law Professor Michael Ariens and George W. Jones, former president of the Washington, D.C., bar association, are that Celis has no law license from any known jurisdiction — including Mexico — and should have nothing to do with the practice of law in Texas. "Texas citizens have a strong and immediate interest in enjoining Celis and CGT from further practice in Texas," Enoch wrote in a Sept. 5 report.

Mixed reaction - - Henry's confrontation with Celis has some lawyers here wincing and others cheering. "The general feeling is that Thomas J. Henry has put his law firm and reputation on the line," said Robert Hilliard, another local plaintiff's lawyer. "If he's wrong, he won't be able to keep practicing in this town. If he's right, I don't know how Mauricio can stay." Hilliard said the Celis flap made him reconsider a case he recently took on referral from CGT. He said a series of letters back and forth with the firm did little to strengthen his confidence.

Other Corpus Christi firms are believed to have taken lucrative referrals from CGT. But with Celis now under attack, not all of them wanted to confirm it. "I'm not going to talk about that. I'm providing no information," said Craig Sico, a principal in the firm of Sico, White & Braugh, when asked about the referrals. Mikal Watts, an even bigger fish in the local legal pond, acknowledged the relationship, but downplayed it. "It's not a major part of my business. There may have been one or two cases in the past few years," he said. Watts is seeking the Democratic nomination for the U.S Senate and Celis donated $4,600 to that effort this year.

Henry predicted the court order blocking his TV spots will soon be lifted, and he vows to resume his public crusade against a man he believes is a threat to the public and legitimate lawyers in town. "I'm smoking him out," he said. "My intention is to spend $100,000 on this advertising so the public is aware. I don't want to see people victimized by this man at the worst time of their life. It's sickening."

48 posted on 01/06/2008 11:36:07 AM PST by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: tcrlaf

“Just more news you’ll never see on the NBC or CBS evening News...”

Amen brother. Amen.


49 posted on 01/06/2008 11:40:01 AM PST by Jay P.S.
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To: SouthTexas
The raid came one day after investigators interviewed accountants for Celis.

Sounds more like the arrest was motivated by evidence!

50 posted on 01/06/2008 11:46:41 AM PST by airborne (Proud to be a conservative! Proud to support Duncan Hunter for President!)
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