‘DWI Dude’ attorney sentenced for scamming drug traffickers

SHERMAN, Texas (AP) — A Texas lawyer often known as the “DWI Dude” has been sentenced to greater than 15 years in federal jail for falsely promising Colombian drug traffickers he’d get their expenses lowered or dismissed in change for money, prosecutors mentioned.

Jamie Balagia, 65, was sentenced Monday to 188 months in federal jail. He was convicted after a two-week trial in 2019 of conspiracy to commit cash laundering, obstruction of justice, violation of the Kingpin Act, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to impede justice.

According to federal prosecutors, Balagia conspired with a non-public investigator in Florida and an attorney in Colombia to rip-off Colombian drug traffickers into paying “attorney fees” for performing as intermediaries with authorities officers who they mentioned would settle for bribes to dismiss prison expenses or scale back jail sentences.

There had been no bribes or authorities officers concerned.

“The evidence in this case demonstrated that Balagia had been shaking down his clients for years by claiming that he was able to purchase favorable deals from prosecutors and judges alike,” Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas Ganjei mentioned.

Defense attorney Gaylon Riddels had requested for probation for his shopper, saying that Balagia was “homeless, destitute and broken,” the Dallas Morning News reported.

Balagia’s two co-defendants within the case beforehand pleaded responsible and are serving federal jail sentences.

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