A Splendora man is accused of stealing more than $36,000 from an Atascocita dentist for whom he performed bookkeeping tasks, according to court documents filed in the 339th District Court in Harris County.
Dale Bradford Harding, 51, is charged with aggregate theft, a third degree felony.
In a probable cause statement filed in court, investigators say Harding took out a $45,000 business loan through his business credit card associated with the dentist’s office, without the dentist’s approval. The money was reportedly deposited into the dentist’s bank account, but Harding allegedly immediately began transferring the funds to his own account, a little at a time, over a period of about six months. Harding is also accused of writing three checks on the dentist’s bank account, forging his signature. The defendant used the checks, investigators determined, to make payroll at Harding’s own personal drug screening companies.
“[I] contacted the defendant who stated he paid himself with the complainant’s checks for tax and bookkeeping services he rendered,” the investigating deputy wrote in his probable cause statement. “Complainant told [me] he paid defendant with a personal check for $675 for 2010 tax services and received an IRS levy on his account for unpaid taxes of $37,000 not filed by the defendant.”
The investigator further states that Harding admitted to writing checks on the dentist’s account and provided several reasons for doing so.
“[Harding] stated that he had power of attorney to write these checks for the complainant,” the probable cause statement says, adding the dentist denied this claim. “[Harding] stated that he would bring proof of the power of attorney to [me], but he failed to do so. Complainant informed [me] that the defendant did not have power of attorney and did not have authorization to transfer any money from his account without the complainant’s written authorization for any transaction.”
A felony warrant was issued for Harding’s arrest and he was taken into custody Sept. 27. As of Wednesday, Sept. 28, he remained in Harris County Jail on a $10,000 bond, awaiting arraignment Oct. 19.
Here are some online comments about Mr. Harding’s tax services.
A 48-year-old Willis woman was told she would have to serve 10 years in prison for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from her employer unless a judge decides six months from now that she can go on probation.
Brenda Lois Hobson pleaded guilty in October to theft of property between $20,000 and $100,000. District Judge Travis Bryan III decided her punishment Thursday, which included a $10,000 fine.
She has two weeks until she must report to Brazos County Detention Center.
After six months, she’ll go before the judge and he will decide whether she should be put on probation.
Hobson admitted to manipulating financial records over the course of several years at Brazos Valley Periodontics Center where she worked as a receptionist and office manager.
Sam Seale, the owner of the clinic who was called to testify against Hobson, complimented the efforts of Assistant District Attorneys Kevin Capps and John Brick, who prosecuted the case.
He said he was pleased Hobson will have to spend some time in prison, but was disappointed she could be put on probation after six months.
“I feel like the severity of her crimes, of her theft and fraudulent activities, warranted more than that,” Seale said.
Seale also thanked his patients who stayed with his practice during the investigation of Hobson’s actions.
Prosecutors said Hobson would pocket cash and tell patients to sign blank checks that were later deposited in her bank account. She would then change financial records to cover her tracks.
Hobson said she would use the money to buy purses, shoes and to get her nails done.
Hobson, who testified in her own defense, admitted her wrongdoing and apologized to Seale and his family.
“I am very sorry for everything I did, for what it’s caused for you and your family, for your employees and the business,” she said to Seale. “I know you said earlier that you’re not able to forgive, and I completely understand that. I can’t imagine what you and your family have gone through.”
Hobson was fired from the job she held before the dental clinic after an investigation showed she forged a signature to divert $5,400 to her own bank account.
Since the signature she forged was her mother-in-law’s — who didn’t wish to press charges — the incident never made it to criminal court.
Hobson’s defense attorney, Craig Greaves, argued that because she didn’t have a criminal record and that she was receiving counseling, she should be given probation instead of jail time.
“There’s a lot of things you can do here,” he said to the judge. “But sending her to the pen is not going to rehabilitate anybody, it’s not going to deter anybody.”
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268th District Court Judge Brady G. Elliott sentenced Jessica Rose Williamson to 11 years in prison on December 1, 2015 after she admitted to committing felony theft.
The 40 year-old Bellaire woman was charged with stealing thousands of dollars from her employer in 2013. According to prosecutor Susan Sweeney, Williamson was an employee of a local dentist who took advantage of her employers trust while he was focused on caring for a sick family member. Williamson stole more than $38,000 over several months by stealing checks, applying credits to her debit card, and other means.
Williamson had committed various forms of theft, forgery, and credit card abuse before, but was never convicted of more than a State Jail Felony and never been sentenced to more than two years in confinement. Several of her previous victims testified in the sentencing hearing including her sons former kindergarten teacher, previous employers, and a Good Samaritan who responded to a KSBJ prayer request that Williamson made based on a fabricated hardship.
The defendants behavior is despicable, said Sweeney. She took advantage of someone who trusted her during a difficult time, without compassion or sympathy. This sentence should protect our citizens from the predator that she is. Theft in this case is a second-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.
Williamson was probation eligible. Assistant District Attorneys Susan Sweeney, Scott Carpenter and Abdul Farukhi prosecuted the case. Attorney Elan Levy represented the defendant.
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An Amarillo orthodontist sentenced last year to serve more than four years in prison for health care fraud has asked a judge to permit him to withdraw his guilty plea, alleging an Indiana attorney stole more than $380,000 from him and coerced him to plead guilty to cover up the alleged theft.
Last year, Michael David Goodwin, 65, pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud. In April 2013, he was sentenced to serve a 50-month federal prison term and was ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution for defrauding the Texas Medicaid program.
Goodwin also was ordered to forfeit $1.5 million — gross proceeds traceable to the offense — and more than $244,000 the government seized in 2001 from his JP Morgan Chase accounts.
Goodwin frequently had employees schedule more than 100 patients per day and set appointments for large numbers of Medicaid recipients on days when he was out of town, a practice patients and employees referred to as “herding cattle,” according to federal court records. To accommodate the large volume of patients, Goodwin illegally directed dental assistants to perform exams, make diagnoses and plan treatment for Medicaid patients when the law required licensed professionals to perform the work.
Goodwin, acting as his own attorney, recently sent a series of motions to an Amarillo federal magistrate judge, alleging Clark Holesinger, an Indiana attorney who represented him, had a conflict of interest in the case because he allegedly stole money from Goodwin and his business, Amarillo Orthodontics.
“As a result of counsel Holesinger’s priority being to prevent discovery of the embezzlement, it was not possible for him to provide defendant effective assistance,” Goodwin wrote in his legal pleadings.
“Counsel knew that if defendant went to trial, it would be likely that his embezzlement and theft of funds would become widely known.”
Goodwin alleges in his ineffective assistance of counsel claims that Holesinger and government attorneys withheld information crucial to his defense and that Holesinger pressured him to plead guilty to avoid having the government prosecute Goodwin’s wife and an office manager.
As part of Goodwin’s plea, federal indictments against Patricia Goodwin, Goodwin’s wife, and a Goodwin Orthodontics office manager in the Medicaid fraud case were dismissed.
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Government attorneys are challenging Goodwin’s claims and note that he pleaded guilty to the charge. The government also questioned Goodwin’s claims that Holesinger told him that he could not afford a costly defense.
“First, Goodwin did plead guilty and no part of the theft was covered up. Goodwin never explains how the advice to plead guilty could have covered anything up,” government attorneys wrote in their motion.
Brian T. Gensel, a prosecuting attorney in Porter County, Ind., wrote in a letter that Holesinger has been charged with theft for allegedly stealing funds from clients there. Gensel’s letter said Holesinger has resigned his law license “as a result of his inability to refute the theft allegations.”
“Based on information gleaned from the ongoing investigation involving other client victims, it is my belief that attorney Holesinger stole approximately $380,000 from Dr. Michael Goodwin and his wife Patricia Goodwin,” Gensel wrote.
In March, Holesinger, who has been charged with multiple counts of theft for allegedly stealing more than $1.6 million from clients, resigned from the Indiana State Bar. Holesinger, 52, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Gensel said Tuesday that Holesinger has not been charged with stealing from Goodwin, but said the investigation is ongoing and that Holesinger could face theft charges for allegedly stealing funds from Goodwin.
A call seeking comment from Holesinger’s criminal attorney, Thomas Vanes of Indiana, was not immediately returned.
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A Valparaiso attorney already charged in Porter County with stealing more than $2 million from his clients, including a disabled child, has worked out a deal to plead guilty to federal charges in the same case.
In return, federal attorneys are making a binding recommendation that Clark Holesinger, 53, serve 10 years in prison, according to a plea deal filed Friday in the U.S. District Court in South Bend, the same day the information was also filed against him.
The deal calls for Holesinger to plead guilty to one count each of wire fraud and money laundering.
He admits in the deal that he began stealing from his clients in 2008. His victims include a disabled child, whose parents gave him a $612,000 settlement check that was supposed to be used to help care for the child. Holesinger was supposed to invest the money for the child, but he instead used it for his personal and professional expenses, the plea deal and information say.
Michele Williams of Keller TX was fired from the dental office where she worked on suspicion of embezzlement. She has now been given a 60-year prison sentence for murdering her husband, Greg Williams. Her initial claim was that her husband had been murdered by an intruder.
Possible motives included the desire to be with her bodybuilder lover, Gene Wallace, and to collect on $650k of life insurance that was in place on Greg Williams.
There are many twists in this story — here is a small part of it:
When Michele Williams dialed 911, the lies came quickly and easily. Playing the part of hysterical wife, she screamed through tears, “My husband was shot. Somebody was in the house.” The call came in at 4:40 am on October 13, 2011, and Keller police rushed to the Williams’ lavish home in the Twin Lakes subdivision. Michele met them in the front yard, spouting the same story about an intruder. Inside the home, detectives found the television on full blast and a child asleep on the sofa.
The gated community was soon swarming with cop cars, detectives and forensic analysts. The corner lot was cordoned off with crime scene tape, and police searched every inch of the nearly 5,000-square-foot home.
Michele, fully dressed with her hair fixed, was behaving oddly. For starters, she told the police she’d been asleep, but her clothes and demeanor didn’t seem it. “Women do not typically sleep in their bra,” one detective noted in his report. Another catalogued Michele’s emotional state. “She was not crying. She was screaming.”
Michele was taken to the Keller police station for questioning, and after a few hours, her implausible story began to fall apart. Her husband, Greg Williams, had been shot in the head while lying in bed. The .45-caliber gun purportedly used by an intruder was found near the back door next to a wrench.
Both weapons were clean of fingerprints. There was no sign of forced entry, and the $20,000 the couple kept in the house hadn’t been touched.
Michele claimed an intruder dressed in black smacked her in the head with the wrench before shooting Greg in the right temple and fleeing out the back door. The couple’s 4-year-old daughter had slept through the entire ordeal. Michele was the sole witness to the crime.
A neighbor’s security camera footage showed only one car entering the gated subdivision in the hours surrounding the murder. Police confirmed the vehicle belonged to a newspaper delivery person.
With her first yarn unraveled, Michele needed to switch spools. After two hours of questioning, the Keller police officer interrogating Michele provided her with a new cover story.
The officer told her about a case where a husband killed himself, and the wife cleaned up to the scene in order to collect on a life insurance policy.
“If there was something that happened that was unintentional, or if something happened and you covered it up, please tell me now,” the officer said. “[It’s] either self-inflicted and you covered it up or potential you may be involved.”
Caught between a scenario in which she was a cold-blooded murderer or one that painted her as a frantic wife and mother acting impulsively, Michele chose the latter.
“He did it,” she said, with her head in her hands. Ever the charmer, Michele even congratulated the detective on cracking the case. “I would not have made it through the day,” she said. “You won.”
Michele didn’t have an explanation as to why a successful businessman and devoted father would commit suicide, but now she could explain her own behavior. Claiming that she wanted to spare their young daughter from the painful truth, Michele told the police she cleaned the gun and Greg’s hands before frantically staging a home break-in and calling 911.
That explanation, however flawed, provided a reason why the house was devoid of forensic evidence. Michele admitted she wiped down the crime scene with bleach and — to really sell her story to their sleeping child — hit herself in the face with a wrench.
Although the suicide claim was flimsy, Keller police struggled to find a motive for murder. There’s only one recorded instance of police asking Michele if she was having an affair. It occurred less than an hour into her interrogation, and she skillfully dodged the question.
“No issues with you and him? No affairs?” the officer asked. Michele responded, “We are [together] almost 99 percent of the time. We are side by side. We work together on everything.”
From the start, Keller police doubted Michele’s credibility. But without any physical evidence to tie her to the murder, she was arrested for filing a false police report and allowed to go home.
According to sources close to Michele, she didn’t spend the days following her husband’s death in mourning. She went to her sister’s house around 5 pm the day of the murder and never mentioned Greg’s name.
“Michele was crying on and off, but it didn’t seem genuine,” her sister, Laura Cusick, said in a police interview.
Michele spent the night there and awoke the next morning with a big appetite. Laura says Michele came into the kitchen about 8:30 am, all dressed up, with her hair fixed and makeup on. “She said she wanted to go to IHOP for breakfast,” Laura told the police. “I found it odd.”
After a leisurely breakfast, Michele met with her lawyers and wrote an $18,000 check from Greg’s business account to attorney Kenneth Wincorn. Then she hopped in Greg’s BMW and took her children on a week-long vacation at Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine. She was later spotted at sports bars and shopping for adult Halloween costumes.
With Greg dead, Michele began liquidating his assets. She sold Blueberries, the frozen yogurt shop she’d begged him to buy her, for $50,000 on Craigslist. She also sold the client list from his computer company, DFW IT Pro, for $8,000.
But time was running out on Michele’s holiday. The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office ruled Greg’s death a homicide on November 3.
The autopsy was not consistent with a self-inflicted wound and instead proved someone shot Greg from a distance of 12 to 18 inches. The toxicology report determined Greg had a large dose of Diphenhydramine (a sedative common in sleeping pills) in his system at the time of his death.
The couple’s 4-year-old daughter — who inexplicably slept through the television blaring, a gun being fired and police storming the house — was never tested for a sleeping agent. Child Protective Services placed her in a family friend’s home in the days following her dad’s death, and she remains in their care now.
Keller police continued to comb the Williams’ home, hoping to find a shred of evidence Michele had overlooked in her cleaning frenzy. But she wasn’t one to get caught in a lie. By the time she met Greg, she’d already had a lot of practice.
Sex, lies and audiotape Like Michele, Brandon Dixon grew up in Hurst. He went to elementary, middle and high school with Michele and her sister, Laura.
Michele’s father worked odd jobs in construction and as a handy man. But Brandon likens his real job to a con man.
“He would get hurt on purpose and try to sue the company,” Brandon says. “He was caught on camera jumping in front of car and then trying to say it was their fault.”
In a small town like Hurst, news travels fast. And even though Michele’s father never went through with filing a lawsuit, his failed exploits were well-known.
“Lies, cheating and manipulation, that was normal for her,” Brandon says. “It has been nonstop for Michele her whole life.”
Michele, a petite brunette with an athletic build, developed a taste for younger men as a student at LD Bell High School. She was pregnant by age 15. At 17, Michele dropped out of school and married her first husband, 16-year-old Kenneth O’Brien.
Ken joined the military, and the couple moved around a lot. The marriage fell apart while her husband was stationed in Germany, and Michele returned to Hurst with three young children in tow.
Brandon was in his 20s, and reconnecting with Michele after so many years felt magical.
“I was head over heels in love with this girl and her kids,” Brandon says. “I was unaware of a lot of things that were happening until after the fact.”
Brandon’s first clue that his new girlfriend wasn’t who she said she was came right before the couple planned to marry. Michele revealed she was still married to her first husband.
Brandon was furious that she’d lied about being divorced, but Michele insisted she had a good reason. Her husband had been abusive and cheated on her. She was embarrassed to tell the truth and scared to send him divorce papers.
“The real truth is that she was the one cheating on him, and there was no abuse, ever,” Brandon says. “She is very manipulative, and she is very good at it. She can make you believe a fence post talks.”
Unfortunately, Brandon didn’t find that out until after his own marriage was in shambles.
Brandon and Michele married in 1994, and things went well at first. Michele worked as a dental assistant, and Brandon owned his own IT company. Michele changed jobs a lot, but Brandon didn’t think much of it. She also brought home all sorts of dental equipment and supplies.
“To say the least, I probably had the cleanest teeth in town,” Brandon says.
Eventually, Brandon says Michele was fired for stealing and took a night job in telemarketing. “She started coming home with tons of cash,” Brandon says, “and I immediately got suspicious.”
Brandon asked Michele for her work number in case he or the kids needed to get in touch with her. “She was dumb enough that she gave me a real number, and when I called, I found out it was a topless bar. I walked in there and I said, ‘You’ve got five minutes to get your clothes on and get out of here, or you’re coming home to an empty house.’”
Michele quit on the spot, but Brandon’s trust issues with his wife were just beginning. Acting on neighbors’ reports that cars frequented the house while he was at work, Brandon installed an audio recorder. In the span of one day, he says he heard Michele having affairs with two different men.
“She couldn’t deny it. I had it on tape,” Brandon says.
After Brandon confronted her, he demanded a divorce. Michele was furious, and while Brandon was at work, she sought revenge.
“I had a really nice saltwater fish tank, with thousands of dollars worth of fish in it,” Brandon says. “She poured Comet in it and killed everything.”
But Michele didn’t stop there. Brandon also had a dog, a healthy Dalmatian mix named Domino. In what was perhaps her first experience drugging and killing a living being — Brandon believes she drugged the dog to make it seem sick — Michele had Domino put to sleep.
“If you are shocked at this point, we have only scratched the surface,” Brandon says. “This has been a nightmare that has not stopped. You cannot get this girl gone.”
Although abominable, what Michele did to Brandon Dixon pales in comparison to her adventures with other men. John Paul Ray, also a student at L.D. Bell High School in Hurst, is the father of Michele’s first child.
Instead of revealing this information to John, she told Kenneth O’Brien the baby was his. The couple got married, and Ken joined the military to support his new family.
Two more kids and five years later, their marriage fell apart. But Michele kept the ruse alive for 13 years. John told the police that Kenneth paid child support from ages 5 to 18 and was unaware he was not the father.
Once Brandon and Michele divorced, she moved in with John, and the two had a common law marriage for eight years. Their relationship ended abruptly when Michele met Greg Williams.
Suspicious that Michele might be cheating, John searched her purse for signs. He found receipts for a dog collar, whipped cream and cherries, along with a to-do list that mentioned buying a birthday card for someone named Greg.
With her affair confirmed, John moved out and left most of his possessions behind. When he returned to retrieve them, John found Michele running a garage sale, selling off his tools and other personal effects.
“Michele did not like living paycheck to paycheck,” John said in a police interview. “She wanted a better life.”
Good life gone wrong Before his death, Greg Williams was married three times. He had two daughters, one with his first wife, Kathy, and one with Michele. Greg and Kathy remained on good terms, even though he’d remarried twice. The tension between Michele and Kathy, however, was palpable even before the murder.
“I knew from day one she was nothing but trouble,” Kathy Williams says. “She was fake, and she lied all the time.”
When Kathy was married to Greg, he had just started his computer company, DFW IT Pro. He spent a lot of time at the office, building the business from the ground up. By the time Greg met Michele, however, he was already living the good life. He paid for her to get breast implants, and the couple had a maid and a nanny.
Despite a picturesque suburban home and a precocious toddler, Greg and Michele were not the all-American couple. The pair met through an online community for bondage, domination, sadism and masochism, and their wild house parties led to multiple complaints with the Twin Lakes homeowners association.
Nevertheless, the couple seemed committed to making their third marriage work. They hosted birthday parties for their children from other marriages at their Keller home, and Michele’s three adult children held barbecues and swimming parties there. Her oldest son often invited his friend, Gene Wallis, to the house. Trim, young and fit, Wallis was a personal trainer and body builder.
“I’d see him at the house when I went to pick my daughter up from their parties,” Kathy says. “He was always there.”
Another fixture at Greg and Michele’s parties was his attorney and friend Kenneth Wincorn. “He was close with Greg,” Kathy says. “He came over for holiday parties at Christmas and Thanksgiving.”
Wincorn says he knew Greg — and later Michele — through DFW IT Pro, and the parties he attended at their home were for company clients.
Taylor, Greg and Kathy’s daughter, was also included in the cast of characters who frequented the Williams’ Keller home. At first, Michele was nice to Taylor.
“We used to go out shopping all the time, and we’d go to a movie afterward,” Taylor, now 16, recalls. Taylor even joined Michele, Greg and their daughter on a cruise to Mexico.
Since Greg and Kathy’s divorce in 2003, the couple had agreed to share custody of Taylor. Kenneth Wincorn’s firm drew up the papers. Kathy says there was no formal child support arrangement.
“There didn’t need to be,” Kathy says. “I knew Greg would take care of his responsibilities. He was that kind of man.”
As time went on, Michele began to grow increasingly jealous of Greg’s relationship with Kathy and Taylor. During the summer of 2010, Taylor was spending weekdays with her dad and weekends with her mom. That meant a lot of time with Michele. The two started butting heads, and Michele claimed Taylor, 12, was addicted to prescription drugs.
“She wanted to get Taylor out of the house, and she wanted me out of Greg’s life,” Kathy says. “But her actions actually made us closer, and that really bothered her.”
Pre-teen Taylor had never been in serious trouble, and her parents doubted she had a drug problem. Not getting the results she wanted, Kathy believes Michele slipped prescription painkillers in her own coffee and blamed Taylor.
Michele spent two days at Baylor Grapevine hospital for benzodiazepine opiate ingestion, and Greg sent Taylor to a drug rehab facility. There was never any evidence that Taylor was responsible for Michele’s overdose on antidepressants and narcotics, but she was labeled a drug abuser and ordered to undergo therapy.
After that incident, Kathy stopped letting Taylor spend the night at Greg’s. “If I had the money, I’d be suing a lot of people,” Kathy says.
Even before the police admitted they had doubts about Michele’s story, few people believed Greg committed suicide. He had too much to live for, and he knew all too well how much pain an untimely death caused.
In December 2010, Greg’s best friend and brother-in-law Byrnn Fletcher committed suicide. “He was devastated,” Kathy says. “It was one of the very few times I saw Greg cry.”
Of all the people Keller police interviewed after Greg’s death, the only one who believed he could have committed suicide was Michele’s oldest son. Citing Greg’s confidence and his passion for DFW IT Pro, everyone else strongly denied the possibility.
Ryan Robinson, a DFW IT Pro client, told the police he didn’t believe Greg would ever leave his business in limbo. Ryan recalled a conversation he’d had with Greg after Byrnn committed suicide.
“Greg said he didn’t understand how life could get bad enough that you would want to kill yourself,” Ryan said in an interview with police. “He told me that no matter how bad life got, he could never do that to his family.”
Greg valued his family very highly because he didn’t have an easy childhood. He grew up with an abusive father and poured his frustration and anger into fitness from an early age. A fourth-degree black belt, Greg worked out three or four times a week with a trainer. Michele told the police Greg had started talking steroids to bulk up even more.
In addition to a love of exercise, Greg was also a gun enthusiast. Both he and Michele owned guns that they kept in their Keller home. Michele’s gun, a silver .40-caliber pistol, was stored in the safe.
But Greg kept his gun, a black .45-caliber Les Baer, loaded in a bag underneath his night stand. Michele told the police she didn’t like Greg’s gun being there, unsecured.
Due to the success of DFW IT Pro, Greg was able to invest in several other businesses. He owned Blueberries, a frozen yogurt shop in Keller where Michele worked, and a weight training gym. Michele and Greg were just days away from closing on a $4.5 million home in Keller when he died.
“Greg wasn’t a perfect man, don’t get me wrong,” Kathy says. “He had a temper like you wouldn’t believe, and he always put work first. But he didn’t deserve to die, and he definitely didn’t kill himself.”
The Tarrant County medical examiner’s toxicology report found sedatives and painkillers in Greg’s system. Michele told the police Greg regularly took Tylenol PM, and she saw him pop a couple of pills in his mouth the night he was murdered. Kathy finds that story hard to swallow.
“He wouldn’t have taken an aspirin to save his life,” Kathy says. “He did not take pills. He worked through the pain.” Kathy says Greg even declined prescription pain pills when he had surgery on his throat.
Michele, however, had no trouble knocking back a couple of pills to dull her pain. Due to chronic shoulder and back problems, Michele had multiple prescriptions for pain medicine.
“Percocet, Vicodin, you name it,” Kathy says. “It was all over the house.”
Greg’s niece, Ashley Austin, told the police that she had trouble sleeping one night when she was staying with her uncle. Michele asked Ashley if she could slip something in Ashley’s drink to help her relax.
“I slept that night and most of the next day,” Ashley said in an interview with police.
* * *
Money talks The night Greg was murdered started out like any other. Greg and Michele took their daughter to see Taylor’s choir concert. Greg videotaped the performance and gave Taylor and hug and a kiss goodbye. Greg and Michele stopped at Taco Bueno for dinner and returned home to Keller.
Michele told the police the couple was excited about closing on their new home the next day, and they stayed up late into the night discussing all the details. One crucial fact never came up, though. The financing for their home was a fraud.
According to the Williams’ mortgage lender, the Capital One account used to secure the loan was bogus. Although they’d reported an average monthly balance of $141,061, the real amount was $10,018.
Someone had altered the account numbers, and the lender hadn’t noticed the sophisticated fraud right away. With Greg dead, Michele canceled the meeting with the mortgage company, and the phony account was never discussed — until the police came calling.
The first words out of Michele’s mouth after she told the police that Greg had killed himself were, “I don’t care about a penny.” But her actions proved otherwise. In addition to putting his businesses up for sale almost immediately, Michele continued to cash checks for DFW IT Pro after she’d sold the company.
Two of the DFW IT Pro checks Michele cashed in the months after Greg’s death were from attorney Kenneth Wincorn. The amount was undisclosed.
Michele Williams was arrested on January 9, as she headed to Lifetime Fitness in Flower Mound. She was indicted for murder, tampering with evidence and making a false police report. The only adult present at the time of Greg’s murder, Michele was at once the crime’s sole witness and its sole suspect.
Her bond was set a $522,000. But Michele’s charms worked wonders even while behind bars: She spent just over a week in jail before making bail at the drastically reduced price of $85,000. Dressed in athletic clothes, Michele walked out of jail with a GPS monitor and a bounce in her step on the arm of attorney Kenneth Wincorn, who was now officially representing her.
Kathy was livid when she learned Wincorn was defending Michele for Greg’s murder. “That money she paid him was part of Greg’s estate, and it never should have gone to pay the legal bills of the woman accused of his murder. The fact that he first represented Greg makes it almost unbelievable.”
Wincorn says his professional relationship with Greg Williams was limited to being a client for DFW IT Pro. Online court records list Wincorn as the attorney for Kathy and Greg’s 2003 divorce, and Wincorn’s name and signature appear on legal documents regarding the couple’s child custody agreement as recently as 2008. Wincorn says his firm was involved in the divorce, but he denies ever representing Greg personally.
According to Wincorn, he first learned of Greg’s murder from an associate at DFW IT Pro. “It was very shocking,” Wincorn says, adding that Michele later sought his representation.
A week after Michele was indicted for murder, she attempted to make a claim on Greg’s $150,000 policy. Michele stated Greg’s cause of death as homicide. Suspicious, the insurance clerk did a quick Google search on Michele. Then, instead of sending a check, the clerk called the police, who noted it in their investigation.
Once her plot to cash in on Greg’s death was foiled, Michele Williams got to work reinventing herself. With three marriages under her belt, she was no stranger to changing names. This time, she went with Shelley Williams, a fitness guru and single mom.
On Facebook, Shelley publicly announced her relationship with Gene Wallis — the friend of her oldest son, a man nearly 15 years her junior and a frequent guest in Greg’s home. Shelley and Gene opened a Kettle Bell fitness business in Bedford and promoted it vigorously online.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram featured Shelley and Gene in a video just three months after Michele’s indictment for murder. No connection between accused murderer Michele Williams and fitness instructor “Shelley” was made.
Outfitted with a GPS ankle bracelet, Michele spent the following months juggling her young boyfriend, fitness classes and court dates while she awaited trial. She’d often show up to court dressed for a night on the town, sporting mini skirts, knee-high boots and low-cut blouses.
“She has never mourned Greg’s death for a second,” Kathy says.
Robb Conover was friends with Greg Williams for more than 20 years and attended many of Michele’s hearings. He recalls how she manipulated the courthouse.
“When Michele went to leave, she asked a group of police officers to escort her out. She knew how to twist people. She got these cops to see her as an innocent woman who needed protection,” Robb says.
Michele may not be innocent in the eyes of Tarrant County, but she’s not guilty of murder, either. On October 9, 2013, Michele reached a plea deal with the county and is expected to face 18 years in prison for tampering with evidence and “deadly conduct” — a third-degree felony that exists in only a few states. Even though Michele admitted she cleaned the gun and Greg’s body, the lack of DNA at the crime scene created doubts that a first-degree murder charge would stick.
Michele’s sentencing is set for April 21, 2014. Why such a lengthy delay between plea deal and punishment? Because she is pregnant with twins.
Kathy Williams thinks Michele’s relationship with Gene Wallis started while Greg was still alive and could be the elusive motive behind his murder.
“If Greg found out that she was sleeping with her little boyfriend, he would’ve left her, and she would have gotten nothing,” Kathy says. “Greg would put up with a lot, but he wouldn’t put up with cheating.”
With her husband dead, Michele is the only other person who could say what Greg knew before he died, and she has already admitted to lying to police and 911 operators about the circumstances of his death. She also has a track record of cheating on every husband she’s ever had.
Michele was the beneficiary on Greg’s life insurance policy, which was taken out on August 12, 2011 — almost exactly two months before he was murdered. The terms of her plea deal mean she won’t see a dime of that money. Of course, neither will Greg’s family, unless they win yet another court battle.
“She has ruined so many lives through this, you can’t even imagine,” Brandon says. “She is a professional manipulator. If the courts would have gone ahead and interviewed all of us, this may have gone in a different direction.”
Citing the pending sentence, a spokesperson for the Tarrant County DA declined to comment on the case. Robb Conover offered his own assessment of the deal.
“You can get away with murder in Texas as long as you know how to clean it up,” he says.
In response to an interview request, Michele’s attorney released a statement on her behalf. Wincorn talked about the complications in the case created by a squeaky-clean crime scene.
He said the prosecution would have struggled to prove intentional murder without a shred of DNA evidence. The problems with defending Michele were equally as complicated.
“If a jury concluded that Michele tampered with the evidence, the jury could then conclude that she intentionally killed her husband, manipulated the crime scene and then lied about it,” Wincorn wrote.
Assuming Michele’s sentencing goes through as scheduled on April 21, no jury will ever get the chance to hear the full story and decide on an appropriate punishment. With an 18-year sentence, Michele might serve 10 years, leaving her plenty of time to reinvent herself once again.
An employee at a dentist’s office in Bellaire is accused of stealing the identities of more than a dozen patients, and police say she wanted only one thing.At Dr. Karisha Madden’s dental office, police say a new receptionist was up to no good. They say Angela Lee Collum, 40, was allegedly stealing patients’ identification to get illegal prescription painkillers. “This employee had been an employee for approximately 90 days, the past three months,” said Boyd Shepherd, attorney for Dr. Madden. Shepherd says a local pharmacist alerted Dr. Madden to the problem after noticing an unusually high amount of Vicodin and hydrocodone prescriptions were being filled. “Dr. Madden, of course, is busy every day working with patients in the operatory. She puts a lot of trust in her office staff to manage patients.” But that trust was violated. Police say Collum illegally used the identity of 19 people in order to get pills for herself and her family between August 27 and September 10 of this year. The doctor says 14 of those victims are patients there. Investigators say Collum illegally used their name and date of birth, along with her employers DEA number to call in prescriptions. They say she would transfer the order after hours to a pharmacy near her own home in Pasadena where Collum was allegedly caught on camera picking up the pills. “Each one of those patients has been contacted by mail in accordance with the legal requirements for notifying them regarding a breach of their protected information,” Shepherd said. Now the dentist is contacting her patients and reporting the identity theft to state and federal agencies. Collum is charged with fraudulent use of identifying information.
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(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) – The financial clerk of a Brownsville dentist has been sentenced to prison for using patient identifying information to open and bill credit card accounts for services while pocketing cash payments made by the patients, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. In a statement to the court, the victimized dentist detailed the 35-year effort by he and his father before him to build trust with their patients only to have the actions of Claire Batsell, 25, destroy it in nine months.
Batsell was sentenced on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010, by U.S. District Judge Hilda Tagle to a total of 69 months in federal prison without parole. Batsell pleaded guilty in January 2009 to using fraudulent means of identification and aggravated identity theft. The sentence imposed represents 45 months for the fraudulent use of dental patient identification information conviction and a mandatory 24-months for the aggravated identity theft conviction which is to be served consecutively. In addition, the court ordered Batsell to serve a three-year-term of supervised release following her imprisonment and to pay $110,000 in restitution.
Batsell, a U.S. citizen and Brownsville resident, was employed by a local dentist as a receptionist/financial clerk from May 2006 until she was fired in July 2007 when her thefts were discovered. As part of her duties in the dentist’s office, Batsell received checks and cash payments from patients for services rendered. She also prepared and submitted credit applications for patients who wanted to pay on credit. Without the dentist’s or the patients’ knowledge, Batsell used the identifying information of patients who paid with cash to open unauthorized credit accounts, then falsified account ledgers to show the credit account being billed and pocketed the cash. Where a patient had a valid credit account but paid cash, she would pocket the cash and bill the credit account.
Prior to handing down the sentence, the court heard the victimized dentist explain how Batsell’s wrongdoing almost destroyed his dental practice, causing a loss of about one-third of his practice and damaged his professional reputation. The dentist told Judge Tagle Batsell’s thefts adversely affected the credit of some of his patients and imposed a huge financial burden on him and his family to pay back the credit card company for the fraudulent charges made by Batsell. Additionally, the dentist and his staff suffered much embarrassment and stress having to explain to patients what Batsell had done.
The court ordered Batsell into the custody of the United States Marshals to begin serving her sentence immediately following the hearing.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Oscar Ponce.
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SAN ANTONIO — A local dental office receptionist is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from her boss. Live Oak Police say Carrie Natasha Clark was a receptionist at the dental office and had worked there for years.
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MARBLE FALLS — A Granite Shoals woman allegedly admitted to Marble Falls police that she took several thousand dollars from the dentist office at which she had once worked.
Police have charged Martha Ann Soto, 32, with theft of property ($1,500 to $20,000) after employees at a Marble Falls dentist clinic noticed cash missing.
The investigation began in October 2013 when a patient reported paying a bill by cash, but when one of the office staff members reviewed records, the employee noticed the payment was supposedly made by credit card, according to an arrest affidavit sworn out by Marble Falls Police Sgt. Tom Dillard.
“They had some concerns, with some bookkeeping irregularities, all of which kind of tracked back to one former employee,” the investigator said.
The alleged “irregularities” occurred between January 2013 and July 2013.
After looking into the matter further, the employee found neither a credit card or cash payment corresponding with the patient’s billing. After comparing other patient files to credit card payments, the employee identified at least 11 similar situations, the affidavit stated.
“The amounts varied from under $200 to around $3,000,” the officer said.
When Dillard began investigating the alleged theft, he contacted several of the patients. He learned three patients had handed cash to the suspect for dental services.
“Each of those accounts reflected a credit payment, but two of them (clinic patients) stated that they did not have the type of credit card listed as payment,” Dillard stated in the affidavit.
Dillard interviewed the suspect in late June. The woman left the clinic in August or September 2013, the officer said.
“In the course of the voluntary interview, she admitted to taking cash from the business on seven to 10 occasions for a total amount in the $9,000-$12,000 range,” Dillard wrote in the affidavit.
Marble Falls Municipal Judge Cheryl Pounds signed an arrest warrant for the suspect. Soto was arrested and booked into the Burnet County Jail on July 13. She bonded out later the same day.
If convicted, Soto faces up to two years in the state jail.
After serving six years of her 15 year prison sentence, Misty has been released and is currently living in San Antonio.
By Craig Kapitan
Updated 12:41 am, Wednesday, June 19, 2013
A dental office manager was sentenced to 15 years in prison Tuesday for embezzling $353,000 from her employer, squandering it on items that ranged from a Beyoncé concert to a limousine ride to a church.
Misty Casanova, 34, also is alleged to have spent the money on Lil Wayne and Chamillionaire concerts, Spurs games, a monster truck rally, a quinceañera, multiple hair appointments and to pay for a divorce. In addition, she transferred more than $900 to her boyfriend’s prison commissary account, court documents state. Assistant District Attorney Trey Banack told state District Judge Ron Rangel that Casanova stole from Dr. Fred Seitz roughly 600 times from 2006 to 2010 — filling out checks for cash to herself and using company credit cards. He asked the judge to assess a 20-year term — the maximum under a plea agreement reached in March. Theft of more than $200,000 is a first-degree felony, usually punishable by up to life in prison. Casanova sought probation. “She is committed to trying to make payments for that restitution,” defense attorney Jesus Lopez told the judge. “She has a great deal of remorse for her actions.” But to pay the entire amount back in 10 years — the maximum period of probation — she would have to pay back more than $35,000 per year, the judge pointed out. Seitz, who owns Seitz Dental Associates on Blanco Road, said that if he couldn’t receive all of the money back, he would prefer to see his former office manager go to prison. The thefts were “devastating” and have caused him to lose respect from family and colleagues, he said. “They just look at me and say, ‘How could you be so naïve?’” Seitz told the judge. The dentist also allowed Casanova to rent his old house so her children could attend Churchill High, he said. The home was left “a disaster” when she moved out, prosecutors said, explaining she left behind four cats and a rabbit. Seitz said he spent $5,000 and months’ worth of nights and weekends restoring the home.