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Texas Titans: A Look at the Texas Players in Perry Case

Angela Morris

Texas Lawyer

August 19, 2014

Gov. Rick Perry's fight against felony charges will be a battle of titans between two Texas lawyers with stellar reputations, arguing before one of the most well-respected visiting judges in the state.

The advocates are special prosecutor Michael McCrum of San Antonio and criminal defense lawyer David Botsford of Austin. For now, they will argue before Senior Judge Bert Richardson of San Antonio, also the Republican candidate for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Lawyers who know McCrum and Botsford say their work on Perry's case will make for an interesting legal battle.

Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor, said he served on a professional committee with McCrum, and he's worked on federal criminal cases with Botsford.

"They are both very methodical in their own ways, and I think both very clever attorneys," said Hilder, principal in Hilder & Associates in Houston. "It will be interesting because they may collide head-on, but there will be a lot of strategy that goes behind each of their decisions. ... It's going to be an interesting game of chess to watch this case unfold."

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BNP Exec Exits FCA Bribery Suit Following $80M Settlement

Igor Kossov

Law 360

August 15, 2015

A Texas federal court on Friday dismissed a BNP Paribas SA manager accused of taking bribes from Mexican companies in violation of the False Claims Act after BNP settled with the government for $80 million.
Jovenal "Jerry" Miranda Cruz was one of the execs who pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud as well as conspiracy to commit money laundering in 2012. After the settlement last month, the government agreed to let Cruz leave the proceedings without prejudice, with both sides bearing their own legal costs. This ends Cruz's civil case, while the criminal case against him is still pending. 

"We are relieved that this aspect of the case is over," Cruz's counsel Philip Hilder of Hilder & Associates PC said in a phone call.

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Philip H. Hilder named First Chair of the American Bar Association White Collar Criminal Law Committee of the Criminal Justice Section


August 8, 2014 - Philip H. Hilder officially became the First Chair of the American Bar Association White Collar Criminal Law Committee of the Criminal Justice Section while at the ABA Annual meeting in Boston.


State v. Larry Ray Swearingen

August 7, 2014 - On August 6, 2014, the Court in State v. Larry Ray Swearingen granted a Motion for Testing to determine if biological matter existed on evidence items.  Mr. Swearingen, who is represented by Firm counsel James G. Rytting, had been convicted for the murder of Melissa Trotter in 1998.  Mr. Swearingen maintains his innocence.


Regulator alleges Houston oil company misled investors

sec seal

Houston Chronicle

Rhiannon Meyers

August 4, 2014

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday charged a Houston exploration and production company with misleading investors by exaggerating the extent of its oil reserves in Colombia and downplaying the risks.

An SEC investigation found Houston American Energy Corp. and CEO John Terwilliger falsely claimed a Colombian oil concession in which the company held an interest contained 1 billion to 4 billion barrels of oil reserves.

If found in violation of the Securities and Exchange Act, Houston American and Terwilliger face substantial fines and debarment - a prohibition from working in the industry, said Philip Hilder, a Houston criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor.

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New details in high-dollar closet heist in The Woodlands

Click2Houston

Syan Rhodes

August 4, 2014

HDH

A high-dollar closet heist in The Woodlands is making national headlines. Three floors of shoes, jewels, clothes and furs were raided. In all about a million dollars in designer items were stolen.

Speculation is rampant on social media as to how the heist went down. Montgomery County detectives have questions and experts say the victims' insurance company will likely have questions of their own.

Theresa Roemer says she didn't set the alarm before she left her home in The Woodlands Friday night.

The bold crime has many on the Local 2 Facebook page baffled, with hundreds weighing in, like Jody H., who wondered whether the Roemer's insurance company would have to pay a claim if she admitted not setting her alarm.

Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor who works with insurance companies to investigate high-dollar claims, says there are many layers to the case.

"The insurance company's going to have to have a good reason not to pay otherwise they could get hit with a bad faith claim for denying policy without just cause," said Hilder.

Montgomery County detectives have not accused the Roemer's of any wrongdoing. Hilder says as a matter of standard practice, insurance companies will ask their own questions.

"The fraud investigators are going to make sure policy holder had nothing to do with the crime and that's what their focus will be," he said.

Hilder says insurance investigators will look closely at the history of the security system usage and will want to know when the policy was taken and if all of the stolen items were on the policy.

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Opponents say prolonged execution offers more evidence for challenge to lethal injection

Fox News

July 24, 2014

AP

The nation's third botched execution in six months offers more evidence for the courts that lethal injection carries too many risks and amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, death-row lawyers and other opponents said Thursday.

Death-penalty opponents say the execution of an Arizona inmate who took two hours to die shows that state experiments with different drugs and dosages are a callous trial-and-error process. The result: Every few months, an inmate gasps, chokes and takes an unusually long time to die.

James Rytting, a Houston lawyer who represents several condemned inmates in Texas, say he will cite the botched Arizona execution in appeals for inmates with executions pending.

"These agonizing and horrifying situations are going to happen," Rytting said.

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Is This the Most Dangerous Man in Texas?

Texas Tribune

Skip Hollandsworth

July 10, 2014

The Texas Tribune interviews University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall regarding the impeachment proceedings, President Powers, and favorable admission allegations. Philip Hilder represents the UT System to provide legal advice on Hall’s impeachment.

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High Court Ruling Bolsters Privacy Push By Consumers, ISPs

Law 360

June 25, 2014

Allison Grande

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a resounding endorsement of digital privacy rights in its Wednesday decision restricting warrantless cellphone searches, using broad pro-privacy language that is likely to help plaintiffs targeting companies that seek to use their personal data without permission, as well as service providers fighting to limit government access to user data.

In a unanimous decision authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the high court held that law enforcement officers must generally secure a warrant before conducting a search of the digital information on a cellphone seized from an individual who has been arrested.

While the ruling put to rest the issue of the constitutionality of warrantless cellphone searches conducted at the time of arrest, attorneys noted that there are still a plenty of privacy issues left for the court to tackle.

"This is likely to be the first in a series of court battles that will address these issues," said former federal prosecutor Philip H. Hilder of Hilder & Associates PC. "If you take the rationale that the information stored on phones is protected and needs a warrant, then that can be extended to apply to wider circumstances, which is likely to spark court challenges."

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Supreme Court rules cops need warrants to search mobile devices

CW39

News Fix

June 25, 2014

cw

The Supreme Court ruled cops now must have a warrant before searching mobile devices.

The argument essentially boiled down to whether cell phones are more similar to wallets or cars - which police can search without a warrant - or personal computers, which they generally cannot.

Seems pretty easy to answer - and apparently the Supreme Court justices agreed, because the vote was a unanimous 9-0.

So what does this mean for law enforcement?

"There's a buffer now, and it allows a judge to decide whether there's probable cause to, in essence, search a cell phone," Houston attorney Philip Hilder said. "It doesn't allow the police to willy-nilly take a look at your phone."

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Volunteering for the Vote

The Houston Lawyer

Taunya Painter

May/June 2014

Interview of Philip Hilder about his pro bono work on Presidential Campaigns.

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Whistleblowers who call the SEC gain financial rewards

L.M. Sixel

Houston Chronicle

June 11, 2014

By day, they're mild-mannered accountants. Or human resource managers. Or shipping clerks. But to the government, they're the eyes and ears of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

They're known as "bounty hunters," but the employees who turn their companies in for insider trading, cooking the books and other securities violations won't appear on a reality television show. Their identity is kept secret.

As part of the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC launched a whistleblower program in which employees who report potential financial fraud that exceeds $1 million can recover 10 percent to 30 percent of the penalties. Contractors, vendors and others with direct knowledge of fraud can also participate in the program.

One of the reasons companies are taking note is that with so much money at stake, employees will have an incentive to turn over information directly to the government rather than use in-house reporting channels, said Philip Hilder, a white-collar criminal defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor in Houston.

Companies were required to set up internal reporting channels in the aftermath of the Enron collapse, said Hilder, whose own role in the debacle involved representing former Enron vice president Sherron Watkins, who went to then-chairman Ken Lay to report looming accounting problems.

The internal reporting requirements were included in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

However, Hilder said, Sarbanes-Oxley does not provide a financial bounty for employees who come forward.

With the new whistleblower incentives, he said, employees are likely to bypass the internal channels. That means company officials may never know about allegations of financial shenanigans until government investigators come calling and they won't have an opportunity to correct the wrongdoing internally.

They'll lose control of the situation, said Hilder, who has filed complaints on behalf of several clients under the new Dodd-Frank program. Some of the complaints have already spawned investigations, while others are in more preliminary stages, he said. None have yet resulted in the payment of a bounty.

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Costs and Questions as TX Implements New Discovery Law

Terri Langford

The Texas Tribune

May 29, 2014

Prosecutors say the state's new Michael Morton Act, a measure designed to prevent wrongful convictions by forcing district attorneys to be more transparent in criminal cases, is driving up evidence costs.

Lawyers on both sides of the criminal courtroom say the Michael Morton Act - named after an Austin man who spent nearly 25 years wrongfully imprisoned for his wife's murder - has raised awareness of the importance of sharing evidence. Prosecutors, however, are concerned about the cost to taxpayers of reproducing reams of information. And defense lawyers worry that some prosecutors could use the law to keep some evidence away from them.

The new law requires Texas prosecutors to release all "exculpatory" evidence - information that could prove a defendant's innocence - to defense attorneys. Defense attorney Philip Hilder, in Houston, said the new law works as a guide for prosecutors who may not be as "well-versed" about the Brady law and its obligations.

"I do think this has been very positive legislation to even the playing field and to more readily assure that individuals get fair treatment before the courts," said Hilder, a former federal prosecutor.

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Updated: Regent Hall says he will not resign in letter to Chairman Foster

The Daily Texan

May 20, 2014

In the letter, released on Tuesday by attorney Allan Van Fleet, Hall crticized Chairman Paul Foster's handling of the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations investigation and the decision to ask for his resignation.

"The result is that you have used your position to participate in a campaign that is intended to impugn my reputation," Hall said.  "You have also allowed a small group of legislators to interfere in the Board's official opperations."

Citing letters sent to the transparency committee by System outside counsel Phillip Hilder and Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa in early 2014, Hall said the committee has found no evidence of wrongdoing on his part.

After Tuesday's UT System Board of Regents meeting, Foster said he read the letter and will not pursue the issue any further.

"I pledge to work closely with him, as I have in the past," Foster said. "As far as I'm concerned, that's history."

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Former DA investigator pleads guilty to theft

Houston Chronicle

Brian Rogers

May 16, 2014

The Harris County District Attorney's Office investigator who stole thousands of dollars worth of vintage comic books that were evidence in an embezzlement case pleaded guilty Friday.

Lonnie Blevins, 39, admitted in federal court that he took more than $5,000 worth of stolen goods that he sold at a comic book convention in Chicago.

"It doesn't seem plausible that he acted alone," said Philip Hilder, an attorney for the company at the center of the case, Tadano America Corp. "It's very unsettling to think that other public servants may have been involved and have not been charged."

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Lawyers navigate rising financial crime risks amid debate over regulation for ‘gatekeepers’

Association of Federal Crime Specialists

Daniela Guzman

May14, 2014

While serving a prison sentence, a convicted drug trafficker in Texas was able to transfer proceeds from his narcotics sales to an account accessed by his associates.

In Nevada, a fraudster funneled $2.3 million through a holding company in order to purchase a currency exchange brokerage, eventually using it to run a $16 million investment fraud scheme.

In Florida, a fraudulent non-profit organization was created solely for the purpose of duping Medicaid and Social Security recipients, stealing $2.8 million.

All three are examples of money laundering cases prosecuted in the US over the past year, but they also share something else in common. In each, attorneys were the ones who set up accounts, handled funds and established the legal entities involved, making legal professionals the linchpins of laundering schemes.

In place of regulation, the ABA advocates for voluntary compliance standards. The non-binding standards share many points with FATF recommendations, advising attorneys on a risk-based approach to customer due diligence (CDD), client intake, and ongoing evaluation of client transactions and relationships.

Criminal defense attorney Philip Hilder is co-chair of the ABA section of Criminal Justice’s White Collar Crime Committee and practices law in Houston, Texas. As part of the committee, he serves as an expert on how financial crime intersects with the legal profession.

“There are no procedures or written guidelines that an attorney must follow in vetting their clients. It’s up to the attorney to conduct their own due diligence that they see fit,” Hilder said.

“It’s incumbent upon the lawyer to make inquiries and to do due diligence to determine that the [client’s] source of funds are legitimate,” he adds.

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Political Revenge in Texas

Wall Street Journal

May 11, 2014

On Monday a special committee of the state house will begin debating whether to recommend impeaching Mr. Hall as a UT regent for such grave misdeeds as asking the university to produce too many documents. Mr. Hall's real offense has been to expose a cozy and possibly corrupt relationship between politicians and the university.

At UT the regents are responsible for university governance and have a fiduciary duty to taxpayers. Mr. Hall was learning his responsibilities when he came across information showing that some professors received forgivable loans from a law school foundation fund not affiliated with the school.

Within weeks Mr. Hall became the target of a political campaign to impeach him as a regent. In June 2013 lawmakers directed a "transparency" committee to look into whether Mr. Hall had "abused" his authority.

The committee also claimed Mr. Hall illegally disclosed confidential student information in conversations with a lawyer. But this charge was contradicted by the university's own independent counsel, Philip Hilder, who wrote to lawmakers in January that Mr. Hall's possession of confidential student information "had a legitimate educational purpose" and that he could find "no credible evidence of a violation of [the law] or of any other state or federal law."

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Former In-House Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Theft, Gets 40-Year Prison Sentence

Brenda Sapino Jeffreys

Texas Lawyer

May 7, 2014

Philip Hilder outside courtroom


Anthony Chiofalo, a former in-house lawyer in Houston charged with stealing $9.3 million from his company, received a 40-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to felony theft. The disbarred lawyer passed up a chance to get less jail time.

On May 5, Chiofalo pleaded guilty to a first-degree felony charge of theft of $200,000 or more, and visiting Judge James Anderson sentenced him to 40 years in prison.

The Chiofalos had been charged after Philip Hilder, a lawyer for Anthony Chiofalo's former employer, Tadano America Corp. (TAC), provided documents to the D.A.'s office. Hilder said that TAC asked him to investigate after an "uncharacteristic spike in litigation" and the company became suspicious.

Hilder, of Hilder & Associates in Houston, said Chiofalo's 40-year sentence is "stiff but appropriate."

"Mr. Chiofalo betrayed. He was general counsel for the company and betrayed the trust of the company and stole quite a bit of money, and, so, under those circumstances, I think the sentence is appropriate," Hilder said.

Hilder said Tadano has recovered more than $5 million.

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Former Tadano Counsel Gets 40 Years for Embezzling $9M

Jeremy Heallen

Law 360

May 7, 2014

A former general counsel for Japanese crane manufacturer Tadano America Corp. was slammed with a 40-year prison sentence in Texas court on Monday after confessing that he stole more than $9 million from his former employer to help finance his rare comic book collection.

Anthony Chiofalo, 52, pled guilty in Texas District Court in Harris County to embezzling millions from Houston-based Tadano using an elaborate fraudulent billing scheme and spending the cash on high-end sports memorabilia and comic books. Following his plea, Chiofalo was immediately sentenced

Philip Hilder, who represents Tadano, said his client was satisfied with the sentence.

"It was an appropriate disposition that Mr. Chiofalo got 40 years," he said. "He breached the trust of the company and stole a considerable amount of money."

Hilder said that Tadano has recovered about $5 million in cash and assets from Chiofalo and is "ready to move on." The company is still awaiting resolution of federal charges against a former investigator for the Harris County district attorney's office who allegedly stole and attempted to sell several of the comic books following Chiofalo's arrest, according to Hilder.

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Regulation of Bitcoin Is Up for Grabs

Jenna Greene

The National Law Journal

April 7, 2014

Following a series of multimillion-dollar thefts and losses, federal regulators want to step up their oversight of virtual currency bitcoin. But bitcoin - a nationless digital money that uses cryptography to control its creation and transactions - doesn't fit neatly in any regulatory box.

"There's an incredible interest in regulating this at the federal level," said Kenneth Russak, a commercial-finance specialist at Frandzel Robins Bloom & Csato.

Potential overseers include the Federal Trade Commission, the Com­modity Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. All are charged with protecting consumers or investors from fraud, but their jurisdiction over bitcoin transactions is unclear.

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Madoff Aide Verdict A Reminder To Fess Up Early

Stephanie Russell-Kraft

Law 360

March 25, 2014

The resounding conviction Monday of five former Bernie Madoff associates over their role in perpetuating the $65 billion Ponzi scheme sent a clear message that financial fraud enablers face a steep uphill battle in court, but attorneys say it also highlighted the need to get them to come forward early on.

In light of these circumstances, employees who may be aware of criminal activities within their organization are better off reporting them than remaining silent, even if they aren't directly implicated in the fraud, according to Philip Hilder, partner at Hilder & Associates PCand a former assistant U.S. Attorney.

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Fed Up With Government, Environmentalists Sue Companies

Neena Satija

Texas Tribune and The New York Times

February 23, 2014

Environmental groups in Texas have taken matters into their own hands, suing industries for excess pollution directly, rather than relying on the government to take action. Hilder & Associates, P.C. is local counsel for the Sierra Club and Environment Texas who are currently suing Exxon Mobile in court for emitting excess pollution. While the vast majority of citizen groups reach a settlement before reaching the trial, that is not the case with this matter.

In recent years, Chevron Phillips and Shell have agreed to settle, rather than go to trial, after environmental groups in Texas filed citizen suits against them for pollution violations. Hilder & Associates, P.C. served as local counsel in both of these cases.

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Witness: Exxon Mobil's air quality among best

Ken Fountain

Baytown Sun

February 19, 2014

Two women who spent much of their lives in Baytown but have both since moved testified about how they believe pollutants from the ExxonMobil Baytown complex harmed either their health or quality of life to open the second week of a Clean Air Act "citizens suit" brought by environmental groups against the company.

Sharon Sprayberry, a retired naval officer and onetime director of instructional technology at the Goose Creek CISD testified the asthma she suffered from as a child growing up in Baytown diminished after she went away to college at Baylor University in Waco.

Her asthma didn't resume until she spent the last years of her naval career at a base in Corpus Christi where, like Baytown, several refineries and petrochemical plants are located.

Asked by William Graham, one of the attorneys representing Environment Texas and the Sierra Club in the lawsuit, what she attributed her worsening symptoms to, Sprayberry was direct.

"The quality of the air. It was not good," she said. Often the air had a "chemical smell," and a smoggy haze would often hang over the ExxonMobil complex, said Sprayberry.

When she returned to Baytown to a job with the school district, Sprayberry testified, she felt her symptoms almost immediately become worse.

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Environmentalists to take aim at Exxon in court

Matthew Tresaugue

Houston Chronicle

February 7, 2014

Environmentalists are heading to federal court in Houston to force Exxon Mobil Corp. to reduce air pollution at the nation's largest petroleum and petrochemical complex - something they say the government hasn't done.

Frustrated with the regulatory response to Clean Air Act violations at the Baytown complex, Environment Texas and the Sierra Club will urge the court to intervene by ordering the Irving-based oil giant to comply with its permits and issuing stiff penalties.

Sierra Club and Environment Texas are represented locally by Philip H. Hilder of Hilder & Associates, P.C.

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Court rejects death row inmate's bid for DNA tests

Mike Glenn

February 5, 2014

The state's highest criminal court on Wednesday reversed a lower court's decision allowing further DNA testing that supporters of death row inmate Larry Swearingen say could clear him in the 1998 slaying of a Montgomery County college student.

In their decision, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said Swearingen hasn't shown whether additional biological material to be tested even exists or that the results could change the outcome of the case.

Houston attorney James Rytting said the appellate court's latest decision was not based on evidence linking his client to the crime.

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ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Midwinter Meeting

March 18-22, 2014

Los Cabos, Mexico

Philip H. Hilder will be presenting on "Handling Whistleblower Claims: New Opportunities Create More Complex and Emerging Issues for Employment Lawyer"

mexico

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Court Reverses DNA Testing Decision in Swearingen Case

Brandi Grissom and Edgar Walters

Texas Tribune

February 5, 2014

The state's highest criminal court on Wednesday unanimously reversed a lower court's decision to allow further DNA testing in the case of death row inmate Larry Swearingen, sending his case back to a district court for further proceedings. Swearingen is a client of Hilder & Associates, P.C. His lead counsel is James Rytting.

Swearingen was sentenced to death in 2000 after he was convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing 19-year-old Melissa Trotter in Montgomery County. James Rytting states that DNA testing on evidence found near Trotter's body could prove his innocence.

Mr. Rytting said he would revisit the present motion for further DNA testing now that the case is before the district court once again.

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Madoff Ex-Aides Seen Facing Hurdle With 'Duped' Defense

February 4, 2014

Bloomberg News

Erik Larson

Five former aides to Bernard Madoffare seen as facing tough odds in trying to convince a jury they were innocent bystanders to the con man's $17 billion fraud, given what one lawyer called the "avalanche" of evidence presented by prosecutors.

After months of testimony by Madoff accomplices, industry experts and former clerical staff, the three men and two women on trial since October will begin presenting their defense cases as soon as today in Manhattan federal court. The defendants have pleaded not guilty and claim Madoff duped them.

Changing the narrative after such a long prosecution will be a "daunting task," said Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor in Houston who's now a white-collar defense lawyer and isn't working on the case. "The 'duped' defense works only if someone was involved on the fringes."

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Lawyer for UT System defends regent’s handling of records

December 15, 2014

statesman.com

Ralph K.M. Haurwitz

There is “no credible evidence” that a University of Texas System regent violated state or federal laws by sharing potentially protected information about a student with the regent’s lawyer, according to a report by the system’s outside counsel.

The report by Philip Hilder seeks to clear Regent Wallace Hall Jr. of any suggestion that he might have committed a crime or otherwise violated a law. Hilder represents the UT System in connection with a legislative investigation into whether Hall overstepped his authority in handling records and in other actions as a regent.

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Report: Regent Didn't Violate Student Privacy Laws

December 16, 2014

Texas Tribune

Reeve Hamilton

After reviewing University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall's handling of information that may be confidential under federal student privacy laws, outside lawyers for the system have concluded that there was "no credible evidence of a violation of [the state government code] that would warrant a referral for criminal prosecution."

Philip Hilder, an outside attorney whose firm — Hilder & Associates — was hired by the system to assist them during the committee's investigation, reviewed the matter and submitted a report on Monday. Hilder concluded that Hall, as a system official looking into alleged favoritism in the university's admissions processes, had a legitimate reason for having the document in question.

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U.T. System Seeks A.G. Opinion on Privileges

December 2, 2013

Texas Lawyer

Angela Morris

The U.T. system wants an "expedited" opinion from the Texas Office of the Attorney General about whether the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, which is investigating whether to impeach U.T. System Regent Wallace Hall, has the authority to compel attorney-client privileged testimony and to subpoena attorney-work-product documents. The U.T. System asked: If an attorney declined, could the committee hold him in contempt?

Philip H. Hilder of Hilder & Associates, P.C. represents The U.T. System.

SIERRA CLUB: Shell Deer Park, Chevron Phillips Cedar Bayou cut major 'upset' emissions by 95 percent

November 23, 2013

The Journal Friendswood

Sierra Club and Environment Texas announced that Shell Oil Company and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company have each cut illegal air pollution from major "upset" events at their Gulf Coast plants by about 95 percent. Those reductions are even more than was required by their settlements of federal Clean Air Act lawsuits brought by the environmental groups.

At issue in the cases were illegal air emissions arising from so-called "upset" events - equipment breakdowns, malfunctions, and other non-routine occurrences

Sierra Club and Environment Texas are represented locally by Philip H. Hilder of Hilder & Associates, P.C.

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Halliburton case could set new precedent for shareholder lawsuits

November 19, 2013

Houston Business Journal

Deon Daughtery

The appeal of a securities class action lawsuit involving Houston-based Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) has made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, and it could have a far-reaching impact on shareholders’ rights, say some in the legal community.

In the original 1988 case, Basic v. Levinson, a group of shareholders sued the company, alleging it had downplayed its asbestos liabilities and overstated revenue with regard to its merger with Dresser Industries. The court at the time said investors didn’t have to prove their loss had a direct link to the allegations; rather, any security investment could be presumed to have been directly impacted, Reuters reported.

It’s that presumption that’s at issue before the highest court in the country. Essentially, the court is weighing whether to heighten the burden of proof for shareholders, said Houston lawyer Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor. Removing the “presumption of fraud on the market” could halt the ability of shareholders to file class action lawsuits, he said. For an individual shareholder, such a step is almost impossible because their financial resources are dwarfed by the company’s deeper pockets.

“It is quite significant because it may very well shift the power from the shareholders to engage in class action suits,” Hilder said. “During the last 25 years, the securities shareholders have relied upon this certain theory, which would allow them access to the courts because their burden of proof was easier.”

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UT Wants Attorney General's Opinion, Can House Committe Punish for Contempt?

November 14, 2013

David Barer

Dallas News

University of Texas System officials want to know if a House Committee can punish for contempt during an impeachment proceeding.

Paul Foster, Chairman of the UT Board of Regents, asked for an attorney generals opinion on whether a House Committee can hold UT officials in contempt for invoking attorney-client privilege or keeping attorney-client work product confidential.

Philip H. Hilder of Hilder & Associates, P.C., outside counsel for the University of Texas System, issued the request and accompanying legal brief to the Attorney General's office.

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Committee Recalls Subpoena for UT Regent Hall

November 12, 2013

Texas Tribune

Reeve Hamilton


A legislative committee mulling the impeachment of embattled University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall has issued subpoenas both for his testimony and for that of several university system officials.

Philip Hilder, the UT System's outside counsel, explained that he did not believe the request would be an issue, noting that previous witnesses — including a former system official and employees of the University of Texas at Austin — had been subpoenaed by the committee.

He said that a subpoena was necessary to provide the witnesses with "a level of protection."

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Firm Client Antoine Dental Center Prevails at Trial

November 5, 2013

On November 5, 2013 an Administrative Court found that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of Inspector General did not show reliable evidence of fraud to withhold payments in its case against Antoine Dental Center. The state withheld over $1 million in Medicaid payments while it conducted the investigation. Hilder & Associates, P.C. was part of the trial team. Counsel from the Firm were Philip H. Hilder, James Rytting and William Graham.

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Court Orders New Mental Competency Hearing in Death Penalty Case

October 30, 2013

Texas Tribune

Brandi Grissom

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ordered a new hearing for Death Row inmate Marcus Druery to determine whether he is mentally competent to be executed for the 2002 fatal shooting. James Rytting, Hilder & Associates, P.C. is one of Mr. Druery's counsel.

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Ex-Madoff Workers Seen Choosing Bets On Freedom Over Plea Deals

October 15, 2013

Bloomberg Businessweek

Erik Larson

Five former employees of Bernard L. Madoff on trial over allegations they aided in his $17 billion fraud probably scrapped plea talks involving harsh prison terms to gamble for total exoneration from a jury, ex-prosecutors said.

The U.S. had little reason to offer the group leniency in exchange for testimony against others, since Madoff and his top aides had already pleaded guilty, said Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor in Houston who represents defendants accused of white-collar crimes.

“It’s kind of like an airline that only has a couple seats remaining on a flight,” said Hilder, who ran the U.S. Justice Department’s organized crime strike force in Houston in the late 1980s. “There’s no reason to give a discount. They charge a full fare. That principle applies here too.”

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Focus on video testimony as Cuban case winds down

October 14, 2013

Houston Chronicle

David Koening


The government's insider-trading case against billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is heading toward the final buzzer.

After six days of testimony, closing arguments are expected Tuesday afternoon in federal court in Dallas.

The Securities and Exchange Commission sued Cuban, claiming that he avoided $750,000 in losses by selling his 6 percent stake in a Canadian search engine company called Mamma.com Inc. after the CEO told him about a planned stock offering. The sale would have cut the value of his shares. The CEO, Guy Faure, said that Cuban agreed to confidentiality on a phone call in 2004, then, when told of the stock deal, angrily said, "Now I'm screwed. I can't sell." Cuban disputes Faure's account.

The verdict could come down to whether jurors believe Cuban or the company's CEO, a Canadian citizen who declined to come to Dallas. His testimony had been recorded on video and shown to the jury. Jurors also heard from bankers, stockbrokers and professors.

Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor and now a white-collar criminal defense attorney in Houston, said juries like to see the demeanor of witnesses. That's harder when they testify by video.

"You can't see if they fidget, you can't see eye contact," Hilder said. "Video testimony is never as compelling as live testimony."

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Anderson To Fill Late Husband's Role As Harris County DA

September 26, 2013

Law 360

Jeremy Heallen

Former Harris County District Judge Devon Anderson was appointed Tuesday by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to succeed her late husband as the county's top prosecutor, a decision hailed by former prosecutors and defense attorneys as bringing a well-rounded perspective to the office.

Anderson picks up the torch Mike Anderson was forced to relinquish in August when he died of cancer after just eight months in office. Her colleagues say her impressive resume as a prosecutor, criminal district judge and defense attorney make Anderson the first "triple threat" to serve as district attorney in the past 30 years.

Phillip Hilder of Hilder & Associates PC says those crucial years Anderson spent with the defense bar give her an added dimension as district attorney that none of her predecessors over the past 30 years had.

"It gives her a better handle on the criminal justice system," Hilder said.

Hilder observed Anderson's acumen as a defense attorney up close when they represented a pair of co-defendants. Although he declined to get into specifics about the case, Hilder said Anderson was a zealous advocate who "very much cared about her clients."

Her experience in private practice will enable Anderson as district attorney to relate to the challenges defense attorneys face and avoid the "us versus them" mentality that past officeholders seemed to encourage, Hilder believes.

"She has a wealth of experience having been a prosecutor, judge and a defense attorney," he said. "She can analyze situations from different perspectives."

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To Assist in Probe, UT System Hires Outside Counsel

September 11, 2013

Texas Tribune

The University of Texas System has hired Hilder & Associates, a Houston-based law firm, as outside counsel to assist in its dealings with the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations.

According to a statement provided by a System spokeswoman, matters and questions that may arise during the proceedings for which the System or the board may require outside counsel could relate to “the privileged nature of legal advice and communications provided by System officers and employees to members of the Board of Regents and others and to the waiver of such privilege in the context of a quasi-judicial legislative proceeding, including closed sessions of a legislative committee.”

Philip H. Hilder is a heavyweight. His high-profile clients have included the whistleblowers in the Enron and Countrywide scandals. He formerly served as the attorney-in-charge of the United States Department of Justice Organized Crime Strike Force in Houston.

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Eighth Annual National Institute on Securities Fraud

September 9, 2013

Philip H. Hilder will co-chair for the Eighth Annual National Institute on Securities Fraud on October 24-25, 2013 at the Westin New Orleans Canal Place, New Orleans, LA.

Broch

Click Here to Register

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Texas Enacts Additional Laws to Address Medicaid Fraud, Waste and Abuse

September 10, 2013

Article by Philip H. Hilder -"Texas Enacts Additional Laws to Address Medicaid Fraud, Waste and Abuse" that appears as part of Lawyer Monthly's Legal Focus on Fraud and Financial Crime. The article recaps four new laws, which took effect on September 1, 2013, that enhance Texas State enforcement and investigation into fraudulent practices in the healthcare field.

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Philip Hilder named a Top Attorney

September 10, 2013

Philip H. Hilder was named by the publishers of Texas Super Lawyers as one of the State's Top Attorneys in 2013

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Enron’s Skilling gets more than 10 years cut off sentence

Houston Chronicle

June 21, 2013

Mike Tolson

The long-running battle between federal prosecutors and former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling formally came to an end Friday when U.S. District Judge Sim Lake signed off on a negotiated sentence agreement that will end Skilling's incarceration in about four years.

In agreeing to the minimum sentence within the range of 168 and 210 months, Lake said the interest of justice would not be served by having Skilling serve longer. He noted that the architect of Enron's rise from an obscure pipeline company to an innovative and diverse energy giant will end up spending more time in prison than anyone else connected to the company's stunning 2001 collapse into bankruptcy.

"This is not an easy decision to make," Lake said about the number of months to choose.

"This is absolutely a resonable resolution," said attorney Philip Hilder, a onetime federal prosecutor who represented so-called Enron whistleblower Sheron Watkins, an accountant who became famous when her memo to Lay warning of the consequences of potential accounting scandals became public. "It frees up about $41 million and puts and end to the appeals. And Skilling will have served a significant amount of time."

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Former Enron CEO’s jail time cut

Houston Business Journal

June 21, 2013

Deon Daugherty

Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling will get out of prison 10 years earlier than expected with a decision by district Judge Sim Lake on Friday that shaved his sentence from 24 years to 14, Reuters is reporting.

Skilling was originally sentenced to more than 24 years for his role in the 2001 collapse of the Houston energy giant. Skilling was convicted in 2006 for his role in Enron’s epic collapse. He has served six years on the charges of conspiracy, fraud and insider trading. His release date is expected between 2017 and 2018 based on time served, good behavior and credit for a drug-and-alcohol-abuse program he completed while serving time.

Philip Hilder, attorney for whistleblower Sherron Watkins, said previously that the hearing would effectively close the Enron saga.

“I perceive this will be the last major Enron action,” he said.

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Skilling sentence reduction appearance on Fox News 26

June 21, 2013

Philip H. Hilder, attorney for Enron whistleblower Sherron Watkins, appeared on Fox 26 News to discuss the possible sentence reduction of Jeff Skilling.

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fox26skilling


Enron: The real story behind Jeff Skilling's big sentence reduction

CNN Money

May 15, 2013

By Peter Elkind, editor-at-large


Last week brought reports of a deal to chop as much as a decade off the prison term of Jeff Skilling, the former Enron CEO and convicted fraudster. But the real reason for the dramatic sentence reduction is different than some of the media coverage has suggested. Skilling's unusually stiff sentence -- exceeded in the pantheon of white-collar crime only by WorldCom's Bernie Ebbers -- could be cut from 24 years and four months to as little as 14 years if the agreement is approved by Houston federal judge Sim Lake, who presided over Skilling's criminal trial back in 2006.

With credit for good time and a drug and alcohol program, Skilling, who is 59 and has served six years already, could get another two and a half years off, freeing him from prison by his mid-60s. The deal will also release more than $40 million in assets seized from Skilling, to be distributed to Enron's financial victims, and will require him to abandon his appeals.

"This is all about finality," says Houston lawyer Phil Hilder, a former federal prosecutor who has represented several Enron clients, including Sherron Watkins. "There comes a point of diminishing returns."

"Let there be no mistake about this," says Hilder. "It's not as though the government gave away a significant sentence. The government didn't just decide to throw out 10 years. The negotiations only shaved a couple of years off Skilling's sentence."

But Skilling, Hilder notes, can now "see light at the end of the tunnel. He will know that there is a day he'll be able to walk out of there."

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Court Rejects Exxon Bid to Dismiss Citizen Enfourcement Suit

May 3, 2013

A Federal Court has rejected, for the second time, an attempt by ExxonMobil Corporation and two subsidiaries to get rid of a lawsuit filed against them by Sierra Club and Environment Texas. The lawsuit alleges thousands of violations of regulations of the Clean Air Act at the nation's largest oil refinery and chemical plant complex located in Baytown, Texas. The Plaintiffs are represented in part by Firm lawyers Philip H. Hilder and Will Graham.


Judge declines to dismiss suit against ExxonMobil

Houston Chronicle

May 3, 2013

A federal judge has declined to throw out a 2010 environmental lawsuit against ExxonMobil Corp. over emissions from its Baytown oil refinery.

U.S. District Judge David Hittner in Houston on Thursday adopted a magistrate's April 3 recommendation that the Sierra Club and Environment Texas lawsuit be allowed to proceed.

Hittner in 2011 also declined to dismiss the lawsuit that alleges the nation's largest refinery violated air pollution laws thousands of times since 2005. Hilder & Assocites, P.C. represents the Sierra Club in this matter.

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Possible Deal Could Cut Ex-Enron CEO's Sentence

The Associated Press

April 4, 2013

A possible agreement that could reduce the prison sentence of former Enron Corp. CEO Jeffrey Skilling for his role in the collapse of the once mighty energy giant is being discussed, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

The possibility of a sentencing agreement in the case was made public this week in a notice to victims of Enron's collapse.

Philip Hilder, a Houston attorney who represented several former Enron executives who cooperated with prosecutors, said if an agreement is reached, he doubts it will result in Skilling's release based on time served.

"I do think he will get a significant reduction but I think he will still be incarcerated for the foreseeable near future," said Hilder, whose clients included Sherron Watkins, who famously warned Enron founder Kenneth Lay in late August 2001 that Enron could "implode in a wave of accounting scandals

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Deal could cut prison time for Enron's Skilling

Houston Chronice

April 5, 2013

Attorneys for former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling and the Department of Justiceare discussing an agreement to reduce his prison time and possibly avert a drawn-out court battle.

Those involved didn't disclose Thursday how much his 24-year sentence might be shortened through a settlement, though appeals court rulings in 2009 and 2010 made some reduction likely.

U.S. District Judge Sim Lake held a private conference call with attorneys from both sides last month about the potential deal. Skilling has been waiting to be re-sentenced after a federal appeals panel in 2009 ruled his sentencing was too harsh.

"Because of the complexity of the case and its age, I think it's probable both parties felt that it was best to come up with a negotiated compromise," said Houston lawyer Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor. "A full-blown sentencing hearing would require a lot of resources and would be time-consuming and difficult because of the age of the case."

Hilder represented Sherron Watkins, a former Enron vice president who tried to warn other top executives about flaws in the company's accounting.

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Exxon Says Enviros Can't Sue It Over Refinery Emissions

Law360

April 3, 2013


n Tuesday told a Texas federal judge that environmental groups cannot sue the company over emissions from a refinery it owns because state and federal regulators have already taken enforcement actions against it.


An Attorney who represents the environmental groups, told Judge Smith that the appropriateness of a citizen enforcement suit "begins and ends" with the language of the Clean Air Act. The act does not bar private suits simply because government enforcement has occurred, he said.


Environment Texas Citizen Lobby Inc. and the Sierra Club are represented by Charles C. Caldart, Bracha Y. Etengoff, Joshua R. Kratka and Rachel Gore Freed of National Environmental Law Center, Philip Harlan Hilder of Hilder & Associates PC and David A. Nicholas.

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Justice Department discussing possible deal that could reduce ex-Enron CEO Skilling’s sentence

Wall Street Journal

April 4, 2013


A possible agreement that could reduce the prison sentence of former Enron Corp. CEO Jeffrey Skilling for his role in the collapse of the once mighty energy giant is being discussed, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

The possibility of a sentencing agreement in the case was made public this week in a notice to victims of Enron’s collapse.

Philip Hilder, a Houston attorney who represented several former Enron executives who cooperated with prosecutors, said if an agreement is reached, he doubts it will result in Skilling’s release based on time served.

“I do think he will get a significant reduction but I think he will still be incarcerated for the foreseeable near future,” said Hilder, whose clients included Sherron Watkins, who famously warned Enron founder Kenneth Lay in late August 2001 that Enron could “implode in a wave of accounting scandals.”

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Japan Federation of Bar Associations and the Osaka Bar Association

On February 27, 2013, Firm attorneys James Rytting and Philip Hilder met with lawyers from the Japan Federation of Bar Associations and the Osaka Bar Association.  The contingent of lawyers were on a fact-finding mission regarding criminal justice reform and sought insight from Mr. Rytting and Mr. Hilder.


Gun owners arming themselves with lawyers even before shots are fired

Yahoo, The Lookout

Jason Sickles

March 6, 2013

Gun owners seem to be heeding the message that, even in self-defense, pulling the trigger can be a costly proposition. Exact stats aren’t kept, but anecdotal evidence points to more gun owners proactively seeking legal assistance.

Around the country, a growing number of attorneys and gun-rights groups now offer prepaid legal plans for self-defense shootings. The programs, which are sold as either insurance or legal services, range from $100 to $300 a year and vary in coverage. Some reimburse set amounts for attorney fees, while others are like having a lawyer on retainer.

Texas attorney Philip Hilder scoffs at the defense-by-subscription trend.

“There is no rule of thumb,” said Hilder, a former prosecutor who now defends criminals. “Every case is going to be fact-specific. What they are charging is unrealistic. You get what you pay for.”

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Texas Dentists for Medicaid Reform Applauds Due Process Provisions of Texas House Bill 1536

PRWEB

February 22, 2013

No less than ten members of the Texas House of Representatives filed House Bill 1536 on Wednesday, an act relating to a Medicaid provider's right to an administrative hearing on an action taken by the office of inspector general for the Health and Human Services Commission to recover overpayments under the Medicaid program.

The bill enshrines the right of a Medicaid provider accused of overbilling the program by the Office of Inspector General (OIG), Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), to obtain a hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOHA) on those accusations. It also makes provision for the provider to file for a judicial review should they contest the SOHA judge's ruling and the amount of overpayment is greater than $50,000

The Houston law firm of Hilder and Associates has been warning the state for the last two years about the lack of due process protection for Medicaid providers. In an article written for the Texas Lawyer in 2011 by Philip H. Hilder and Paul Creech entitled "Blurred Barriers in Civil, Criminal Medicaid Investigations," they wrote:

"In an effort to control Medicaid costs and at the same time combat abuse, the OAG and the Texas Legislature have created a system that has encouraged - and even required - the intertwinement of civil and criminal investigations to the detriment of the proper administration of criminal justice, which likely violates Fifth Amendment due-process limitations."

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Death Row Prisoner Larry Swearingen May Be Innocent. Do Texas Courts Care?

The Nation

February 20, 2013

Jordan Smith

The Nation spotlights death row inmate, firm client Larry Swearingen.

n Swearingen’s case, the courts have demonstrated little tolerance for scientific questions that are not only central to his guilt or innocence, but that have implications for every single death investigation in the state. - See more at: http://www.thenation.com/article/173014/death-row-prisoner-larry-swearingen-may-be-innocent-do-texas-courts-care#sthash.OrXz2beV.dpuf
In Swearingen’s case, the courts have demonstrated little tolerance for scientific questions that are not only central to his guilt or innocence, but that have implications for every single death investigation in the state. - See more at: http://www.thenation.com/article/173014/death-row-prisoner-larry-swearingen-may-be-innocent-do-texas-courts-care#sthash.OrXz2beV.dpuf
In Swearingen’s case, the courts have demonstrated little tolerance for scientific questions that are not only central to his guilt or innocence, but that have implications for every single death investigation in the state. - See more at: http://www.thenation.com/article/173014/death-row-prisoner-larry-swearingen-may-be-innocent-do-texas-courts-care#sthash.OrXz2beV.dpuf
In Swearingen’s case, the courts have demonstrated little tolerance for scientific questions that are not only central to his guilt or innocence, but that have implications for every single death investigation in the state. - See more at: http://www.thenation.com/article/173014/death-row-prisoner-larry-swearingen-may-be-innocent-do-texas-courts-care#sthash.OrXz2beV.dpuf

Click for Full Story


Legal costs mount in HISD bribery lawsuit

Houston Chronicle

February 19, 2013

Ericka Mellon

HISD has spent more than $900,000 defending the school district and trustee Larry Marshall in a bribery lawsuit headed for an October trial after attorneys failed to reach a settlement this month.

Agreeing on a deal would cost taxpayers more cash, but would secure an end to the high-profile lawsuit filed in December 2010, and would keep new details from being revealed in a public trial.

Philip Hilder, a white-collar criminal defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor, said one benefit of settling the case "is that the dirty laundry remains cloaked and there will be no more information publicly coming out, at least through this proceeding."

He added, "There's a certain benefit for the plaintiffs to litigate this matter. The more that comes out, the more embarrassing it is for Mr. Marshall and HISD."

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DA freezes 125 cases in wake of investigators' arrest, probe

Houston Chronicle

Brian Rogers

February 13, 2013

The Harris County district attorney said Tuesday he has frozen 125 pending criminal cases after an FBI probe of two former investigators, one of whom was arrested, cast doubt on the men's credibility.

"I am hopeful that their involvement will have had little impact on the validity of the cases, but I cannot in good conscience agree to guilty pleas until all the facts are known," District Attorney Mike Anderson said in a release.

Lonnie Blevins was arrested last week, accused of selling thousands of dollars worth of rare comic books that were evidence in a case he worked on last year. Dustin Deutsch is also under federal investigation, the office confirmed.

Anderson's statement did not address the case of Anthony Chiofalo, a disbarred lawyer accused of embezzling more than $9 million from his employer and sinking the money into collectibles, including comic books, and sports memorabilia.

Philip H. Hilder of Hilder & Associates represents Tadano American Corporation, the employer in the embezzlement case.

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I-Team questions lead to FBI internal investigation

Jeremy Rogalski / I-Team

khou 11

February 11, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating one of its own after the I-Team observed the questionable activities of one of its agents.

"Some heavy questions need to be asked," said Phillip Hilder.

Hilder was the lead attorney of a U.S. Justice Department task force and he trusts the Bureau.

"I do think that (FBI) investigations are pretty thorough, they do hold people's feet to the fire," Hilder said.

iteam

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Justice Department, states weigh action against Moody's

Reuters

Aruna Viswanatha and Luciana Lopez

February 7, 2013

The Justice Department and multiple states are discussing also suing Moody's Corp for defrauding investors, according to people familiar with the matter, but any such move will likely wait until a similar lawsuit against rival Standard and Poor's is tested in the courts.

Inquiries into Moody's are in the early stages, largely because state and federal authorities have dedicated more resources to the S&P lawsuit, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly about enforcement discussions.

Legal experts say they expect the S&P case might simply be a prelude to more action.

"It may very well be that the government's testing their waters and they don't want to bite off more than they can chew," said Philip Hilder of Hilder & Associates in Houston, a former federal prosecutor. "Nobody should take these cases lightly."

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SEC Settles Insider Trading Case With Houston Man

Bloomberg

February 6, 2013

Karen Gullo

On February 6, 2013 SEC settled an insider trading case with Firm client James Balchan from Houston who allegedly bought National Semiconductor Corp. shares based on a tip learned from his lawyer wife, Mr. Balchan was represented by Philip Hilder and Stephanie McGuire.

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Former Harris Co. investigator arrested

abc 13

February 5, 2013

Former investigator arrested for stealing valuable comic books from a defendant accused of embezzling money from his former employer . Philip Hilder is counsel for the company.

blev

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Former Harris Co. investigator accused of stealing valuable comic books

Houston Chronicle

February 5, 2013

Brian Rogers

A former investigator with the Harris County district attorney's office will appear in federal court Tuesday, accused by authorities of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in comic books from a defendant in an embezzlement case and trying to sell them.

Lonnie Blevins, who left Houston to work in San Antonio, was arrested after a lengthy federal investigation into items that disappeared from the home and storage units of a disbarred lawyer facing charges that he stole from his employer.

Philip Hilder, an attorney for Tadano, has said the company is working to track down everything that Chiofalo bought to try to recover as much money as possible.

"The case against Chiofalo is solid," Hilder said. "But this could have an impact on the amount of restitution in his case."

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Death Row Inmate Larry Swearingen's Execution Stayed

Firm client Larry Swearingen received a stay of execution January 30, 2013 signed by Montgomery County 9th District Judge Kelly Case. Mr. Swearingen is represented by James Rytting and Philip Hilder.

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Death Row Inmate Larry Swearingen's Execution Stayed

The Texas Tribune

Brandi Grissom

January 30, 2013

A Montgomery County judge on Wednesday withdrew an order that had set the execution of condemned murderer Larry Swearingen for Feb. 27. Swearingen's lawyers James Rytting and Philip Hilder have asked for more time to perform DNA testing.

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Judge delays execution of man in Montgomery Co. murder case

abc 13

January 30, 2013

Firm client, death row inmate Larry Swearingen received a stay of execution January 30, 2013 for DNA testing. Mr. Swearingen are represented by James Rytting and Philip Hilder.

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Test the DNA-Will Texas put an innocent man to death?

Houston Chronicle

January 30, 2013

The Chronicle has called for Firm client, death row inmate Larry Swearingen to have DNA testing. Mr. Swearingen is represented by James Rytting and Philip Hilder of Hilder and Associates.

Click for Opinion Piece


Montgomery Co. DA approves death-row inmate's request for more DNA testing

abc news

January 25, 2013

DNA testing is sought for Death Row inmate Larry Swearengen who is scheduled to be executed next month. James Rytting of Hilder & Associates, P.C. is lead counsel.

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Public officials, public business and cronies

January 25, 2013

Houston Chronicle

Philip Hilder was quoted in an op-ed published in the Houston Chronicle about HISD Board Member Larry Marshall. Being a public servant has certain duties and responsibilities," Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor and white-collar criminal-defense lawyer, told Chronicle reporter Ericka Mellon. "Simply put, as a public servant, you can't take money or something of value directly or indirectly for a promise to do something. If you do, that would constitute bribery. Even if there's not a quid pro quo, it could still be viewed as an illegal gratuity."

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Attorneys for condemned man seek DNA testing in Montgomery County case

Houston Chronicle

Erin Mulvaney

January 17, 2013

Lawyers, including Hilder & Associates James Rytting, for a death row inmate set to be executed next month will seek DNA testing under a recent Texas law.

A motion filed Thursday in Montgomery County by the New York-based Innocence Project requests testing of crime scene evidence to support Larry Swearingen's claims of innocence for the 1999 murder of 19-year-old college student Melissa Trotter. Swearingen is scheduled to be executed on Feb. 27.

The motion follows a 2011 Texas law that provides the right to conduct testing on any crime scene that can yield evidence of innocence.

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Former in-house attorney faces up to life in prison if convicted of $9M theft

Daily Report

Brenda Sapino Jeffreys

Anthony Chiofalo, a former in-house lawyer in Houston who was charged along with his wife with stealing $9.3 million from his company, is in custody in Harris County, Texas, facing the prospect of life in prison if convicted.

That's not the only legal problem facing Chiofalo and his wife, Susan Cardenas Chiofalo. His former employer, Tadano America Corp. (TAC) of Houston, filed a state court civil suit against him and a federal court civil suit against his wife. Both suits seek damages consisting of the money the Chiofalos allegedly stole.

Philip Hilder, an attorney representing TAC, says the company filed the civil suits to recover as much of the money as possible. Hilder, who TAC hired in 2012 to conduct an internal investigation into what he described in June 2012 as an "uncharacteristic spike in litigation," says the company has recovered assets, including collectibles, which potentially are worth millions of dollars. But Hilder says he's not confident the company can recover all of the $9.3 million.

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Judge denies bond for former in-house lawyer charged with stealing more than $9.3 million

January 7, 2013

Texas Lawyer Blog

A former in-house lawyer in Houston who was charged in June 2012 with stealing more than $9.3 million from his company was denied bond this morning.

Judge Maria Jackson of the 339th District Court denied bond to Anthony Chiofalo, who turned himself in to authorities in December 2012, seven months after the Harris County District Attorney's office issued an arrest warrant for him.

Houston lawyer Philip Hilder, who was hired by TAC in 2011 to conduct an internal investigation into what he described in June 2012 as an "uncharacteristic spike in litigation" says the company has recovered assets, including collectibles, that potentially are worth millions of dollars, but Hilder is not confident the company can recover all of the $9.3 million.

On Aug. 27, 2012, Jackson signed an order authoring the seizure of items from several storage units the order describes as controlled by Chiafalo and his wife and awarded the items to TAC as "partial restitution." The order includes an 84-page exhibit list of items to be seized.

"We're still pursuing leads," says Hilder, of Hilder & Associates of Houston.

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Fugitive in $9M theft case had high-priced collectibles

January 7, 2013

Houston Chronicle

Brian Rogers

When authorities raided Anthony Chiofalo's home and storage units after he was accused of embezzling more than $9 million from his employer, they found hundreds of valuable items including a baseball signed by Babe Ruth, a first edition Playboy and the first ever Batman comic book, worth about $900,000.

Company officials became suspicious last year and Chiofalo last June was charged with felony theft. Before he could be arrested, the lawyer fled Houston and spent seven months on the lam.

In December, he turned himself in because, his lawyer said, he was affected by the recent school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Chiofalo's attorney said his client was living in a garage apartment in a Rhode Island neighborhood full of children.

Philip Hilder, an attorney for Tadano, said Monday that Chiofalo took advantage of a position of trust at the company.

"If Mr. Chiofalo wanted to cooperate, he wouldn't have fled," Hilder said. "He would have turned himself in seven months ago."

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Attorney accused of $9 million theft from Houston company faces judge

abc 13

Erik Barajas

A man accused of spending millions of dollars of company funds on sports and comic memorabilia was in court Monday morning after six months on the run.

Wearing an orange Harris County Jail jumpsuit, Anthony Chiofalo finally went before a judge. The 51-year-old is charged with embezzling more than $9 million from his employer. He was on the run for months with loads of cash.

"He had $150,000 in cash, and had been on the run for seven months. Nobody knew where he was," said his attorney Paul Doyle.

Chiofalo was head of legal affairs for Tadano America. The northwest Houston company produces high-end commercial cranes. Prosecutors say Chiofalo created a fake law firm funneling away millions to his personal account.

"He was in a position of trust and took advantage of that trust, in his position as legal director," said Tadano America attorney Philip Hilder.

Tadana reps say he only turned himself because he knew law enforcement was on his trail in Newport, Rhode Island.

"If Mr. Chiofalo wanted to cooperate, he would have not fled and turned himself in seven months ago," Hilder said.

Chio Court

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Suspect in $9 million theft from Houston company turns himself in

abc 13

Jessica Willey

Investigators have booked and processed into the Harris County Jail a fugitive accused of stealing about $9 million.

Early this morning, Anthony Chiofalo was walked into the Harris County jail in handcuffs. He had been running from felony theft charges for six months until he suddenly surrendered.

Almost two weeks after a Newport, Rhode Island court appearance, Chiofalo is on his way back to Texas. The 51-year-old turned himself in to police in Newport the week before Christmas along with $150,000 in cash.

Chiofalo was the head of legal affairs and investigators say in that role he was able to funnel money to a fake law firm that he created. With the millions he's accused of stealing, prosecutors believe he bought hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of comic books and sports collectibles.

"The company wants to see that justice be done," said Tadano's attorney Philip Hilder. "He was a valued employee they trusted and he stole from them."

Chio Office

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Houston lawyer accused of embezzling $9 million arrested in Rhode Island

Houston Chronicle

Brian Rogers

January 3, 2013

A Houston lawyer who has been on the run since June when he was accused of stealing more than $9 million from his employer now wants to take responsibility for his actions and was expected to be returned to Houston, his lawyer said.

Anthony Chiofalo turned himself in weeks ago at a Rhode Island police station, said attorney Paul Doyle. Authorities were expected to bring Chiofalo to Houston Thursday night.

He wants to take responsibility, to make this right" Doyle said. "When he showed up at the Rhode Island jail, he took them $150,000 in cash."

"He's been gone for six months," said Philip Hilder, an attorney for the company. "That is not indicative of someone who wants to be cooperative."

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HISD trustee got cut of contracts awarded to associate, records show

November 4, 2012

Ericka Mellon

HISD trustee Larry Marshall voted repeatedly to award taxpayer-funded contracts to companies that hired his longtime business associate - who gave him a cut of her earnings, according to court records, deposition testimony and interviews.

"Being a public servant has certain duties and responsibilities," said Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor and white-collar criminal defense attorney. "Simply put, as a public servant you can't take money or something of value directly or indirectly for a promise to do something. If you do, that would constitute bribery. Even if there's not a quid pro quo, it could still be viewed as an illegal gratuity."

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Firm Luncheon

October 19, 2012

The Firm hosted a luncheon for four current and former Congressman. Pictured from left, Nick Lampson (Fr. D-TX); Steve Israel (D-NY); Al Green (D-TX); and Henry Cuellar (D-TX).

Lampson


Appeals Court Throws Out Stay of Execution in Texas Case

Wall Street Journal

October 10, 2012

Chad Bray

A federal appeals court has thrown out the stay of execution of a Texas inmate who claimed he was mentally retarded and incompetent to be put to death.

Jonathan Marcus Green was convicted in July 2002 of capital murder in the death of a 12-year-old girl in Texas. A Texas appeals court upheld his sentence and a state court found him in 2010 to be competent to be put to death despite his claims of being mentally retarded.

Earlier this month, a federal district court in Texas halted his execution, finding the state court violated his due process rights in part by preventing him from calling mental health professionals from the Texas prisons to testify about records submitted in the competency hearing.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit disagreed in an order issued Tuesday, saying Mr. Green testified at the hearing, was provided counsel, was able to call his own expert witness and submitted more than 200 pages of medical records.

Philip Hilder, Mr. Green's lawyer, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a stay of his execution.

"The Court of Appeals has clearly overextended its authority and jurisdiction by treating the district court's decision to stay the execution as a decision on the merits," Mr. Hilder said in court papers.

Mr. Hilder said the appeals court "illegitimately reclassified" the issue before it and "erroneously treated" the district court order as a final disposition in his case.

"The distortion of proper procedures resulted in an incoherent order that underscored the need for a stay, so that Mr. Green's claim can be considered through established federal habeas corpus proceedings."

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Texas man gets stay 2 days before execution

Nancy Flake

Houston Community Papers

October 9, 2012

Two days before his scheduled execution, a Montgomery man on Texas' Death Row for the 2000 abduction, rape and strangulation murder of a 12-year-old Dobbin girl received a stay because he wasn't given due process to prove he is mentally incompetent for execution, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Judge Nancy Atlas, in the Southern District of Texas, ruled that Jonathan Marcus Green, 44, who was convicted in 2002 for the murder of Christina LeAnn Neal, did not receive a fair opportunity to demonstrate that he is incompetent, "and thus the State of Texas denied him due process."

Green is schizophrenic and "is not malingering," said his appellate attorney, James Rytting.

"He is mentally ill ... and he's only gotten worse after being stuck in administrative segregation," Rytting said

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Stay of Execution Granted

October 8, 2012

Stay of Execution granted for Firm client, Jonathan Marcus Green. The Federal Court concluded that Mr. Green was denied due process by using incorrect legal standards. The Court went on that the State Court engaged in an unreasonable application and that Mr. Green is entitled to a stay of execution. James Rytting of t he Firm is the lead attorney on the case.

Click for Houston Chronicle article

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Stay Sought for young girl's killer

Houston Chronicle

Mike Tolson

October 8, 2012

A mentally ill inmate is set to die Wednesday for the abduction, rape and murder of a Montgomery County girl, whose body was buried in his yard. Jonathan Green came close to execution in 2010 but received a last minute stay so that appeals courts could evaluate his mental condition and determine whether he is competent to be executed. Green suffers from schizophrenia and his attorney claims her is borderline mentally retarded. Green's attorney, James Rytting, is hopeful of getting another stay. He claims his client has deteriorated further over the past two years.

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Philip Hilder chosen for the cover of the Super Lawyers section of Texas Super Lawyers 2012

Paul Sweeney

The Whistle Blowers Advocate

Texas Super Lawyers 2012

The Whistleblowers' Advocate

SL


Man’s honest act after wild Los Angeles bank robbery

Jason Sickles

The Lookout, A Yahoo News Blog

September 13, 2012

Scores of Los Angeles residents scrambled Wednesday to stuff their pockets with cash being tossed into the streets by bank robbers on the run. But out of the chaos emerged Sal Reyes.

"You have to give it back," Reyes told KNBC-TV.

At first, Reyes said, he didn't know what was going on as the suspects' getaway car and police cruisers zipped through his neighborhood.

"There were mothers leaving their kids and they were just grabbing the money, and there was just money in the air," he said. "It was just everywhere."

Reyes scooped up bills, too, but took an undisclosed amount to a police station once he learned it had been stolen from a Bank of America."You can't just go spend money that's not yours," he told the TV station. Many others didn't adopt his golden rule.

"The money was not heaven-sent," said Philip Hilder, a veteran Texas attorney. "The fact that they didn't originally take the money is of no consequence if they knew the money had been stolen. Anybody who keeps the cash is going to be buying themselves a lot of unwanted trouble."

Police say they are reviewing video from news coverage to help them locate the greedy grabbers.

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Deputy constables allege retaliation following Abercia indictment

Houston Chronicle

Anita Hassan

August 23, 2012

Two Harris County Precinct 1 deputies are suing Constable Kenneth Berry, accusing him of retaliation and harassment following a report the pair made to federal authorities that to led the indictment of former constable Jack Abercia.

According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday against Berry and Harris County, Precinct 1 Deputy Constable Mark Harrison and Sgt. Kevin Williams say they were both reassigned, demoted and harassed because they told the FBI about information implicating Abercia and two senior Precinct 1 officers in a bribery scheme and unauthorized use of a computer at the office.

"It was very obvious that there was a pattern and practice of retaliation against these two officers in Constable Berry's office for providing information to federal (law) enforcement authorities," said their attorney, Philip Hilder, who once represented Enron whistle blower Sherron Watkins.

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Whistleblowing Precinct One Constables Allege Retaliation in Aftermath of Jack Abercia Indictment

Houston Press

John Nova Lomax

August 23, 2012

Two Precinct One Harris County Constables have filed suit against Harris County and their immediate supervisor, Constable Kenneth Berry, successor to indicted former chief Jack Abercia.

In both of the suits filed yesterday, plaintiffs Sergeant Kevin Williams (formerly of the Civil Division) and Mark Harrison (formerly an Internal Affairs investigator) claim that they have been demoted, reassigned and otherwise harassed after they went to the FBI with information implicating Abercia and two staffers in a bribery/unauthorized use of police information scheme.

Lead counsel for both plaintiffs is Phillip Hilder, best-known for his representation of perhaps the city's most renowned whistleblower ever -- Sherron Watkins of Enron fame. Both suits allege unlawful discrimination and retaliation and seek injunctive and equitable relief, job reinstatement, future pecuniary losses, damages for emotional pain and suffering, actual and exemplary damages, attorneys' fees and court costs.

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Clemens Acquittal Betrays DOJ's Leadership Woes, Attys Say

law360

June 20, 2012

Ian Thomas

With Monday's acquittal of Roger Clemens, the U.S. Department of Justice suffered another glaring defeat in a high-profile and highly questioned case against a celebrity, exposing the department's lack of leadership when it comes to picking prosecutions, experts say.

After deliberating for less than 11 hours, a federal jury found the former Major League Baseball pitcher not guilty of lying to Congress about his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. The verdict came less than a week after the DOJ dropped its controversial prosecution of two-time presidential candidate John Edwards for campaign finance violations tied to an affair he had during his 2008 run for the White House.

The Clemens and Edwards cases were both doubted from their beginnings and now stand out as two black eyes for a Justice Department already reeling from its botched prosecution of the late Sen. Ted Stevens and its mishandling of the infamous "Fast and Furious" gun-walking investigation, attorneys said.

"They showed very poor judgment," said Philip H. Hilder, a Houston-based defense attorney and former Justice Department prosecutor. "DOJ needs to properly evaluate these cases before they bring them, especially when dealing with a high-profile figure like a John Edwards, like a Clemens. These trials have a huge toll - not just financially, but emotionally."

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Father won't face charges for killing daughter's attacker

AP

Paul J. Weber and Ramit Plushnick-Masti

statesman.com

A young father who beat to death with his fists a man molesting his 5-year-old daughter won't be charged, authorities said Tuesday as they released a dramatic 911 tape of the dad frantically pleading for help before the hired ranch helper died.

A Lavaca County grand jury Tuesday declined to indict the 23-year-old father in the death of Jesus Mora Flores, 47. Prosecutors said the grand jury reached the same conclusion as police after reviewing the evidence: The father was allowed to use deadly force to protect his daughter.

Philip Hilder, a Houston criminal defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor, said he would have been surprised if the grand jury had indicted the father. Hilder said Texas law provides several justifications for the use of deadly force, including if someone is committing a sexual assault.

"The grand jury was not about to indict this father for protecting his daughter," he said.

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Allen Stanford sentenced to 110 years in prison

Reuters

June 14, 2012

Anna Driver and Eileen O'Grady

U.S. District Judge David Hittner said Stanford's actions were among the most "egregious criminal frauds," and investors who lost money said Stanford's crimes were worse than those of Bernard Madoff, another Ponzi schemer.

In March, a jury convicted Stanford of 13 charges including fraud and conspiracy for selling certificates of deposit from his bank in Antigua to thousands of investors in the United States and Latin America. He had already spent some of those proceeds on yachts, girlfriends, sponsorship of a cricket tournament and other accoutrements of a high-rolling life.

Stanford denied committing fraud or running a Ponzi scheme and, in a statement that went on for 40 minutes, he blamed the U.S. government for ruining a business he said had enough assets to repay its depositors. "They destroyed it and turned it to nothing," he said.

Stanford insisted: "I am not a thief."

Prosecutor William Stellmach told the judge: "This is a man utterly without remorse. He treated his victims like roadkill."

Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor and criminal defense attorney in Houston, said Hittner likely just followed the federal sentencing guidelines.

"While it is exorbitant, the judge sentenced to what the guidelines called for," Hilder said.

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Twisted murder-for-hire case takes another turn

click2houston

June 12, 2012

Phil Archer

phh

A twisted murder-for-hire case has taken yet another turn.

Michelle Gaiser has admitted to hiring hit-men to kill Yvonne Stern, the wife of Jeffery Stern. Gaiser and Jeffrey Stern had an affair.

Three attempts were made on Yvonne Stern's life. She was shot in the abdomen during one of those attempts in May 2010.

Gaiser has taken a plea deal for her solicitation of capital murder charge. Part of that plea includes testifying against Jeffrey Stern, who has also been accused of solicitation of capital murder. He is scheduled to go to trial on the charge on July 27.

Jeffrey Stern has denied any involvement in the plot. Yvonne Stern is standing by him.

According to Paul Nugent, Jeffrey Stern's defense attorney, Gaiser does want to testify. Nugent said Gaiser wrote a note to another jail inmate, offering $20,000 for the death of Jeffrey Stern.

Nugent read part of alleged note at a news conference on the couple's front lawn on Tuesday.

"It needs to look like he got robbed. If you plan on making him disappear, he cannot be found because they'll think it's a hit," Nugent said the note read. "Whatever you do, it must not look like a hit. It's going to be accidental death. Obviously, even a close-range shot didn't get rid of the wife."Some attorneys said that the letter is a game-changer in Jeffrey Stern's case.

"The fact the prosecution witness wrote this doesn't necessarily mean this case is dead in the water," said Phil Hilder, another Houston attorney. "The prosecution and the judge are going to have to judge the credibility of this communication.

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Husband, wife face $18 million bond each for allegedly stealing money from his employer

abc news

June 12, 2012

The grand total is staggering -- more than $9 million gone from a local company, and police are trying to find the former employee accused of ripping them off.

Perhaps just as shocking as the large amount of money missing is how prosecutors say much of it was spent on comic books and collectibles.

Anthony Chiofalo used to work at Tadano America, a company with offices in Houston and manufactures and sells hydraulic cranes worldwide, until he was fired for allegedly stealing millions. Now he's on the run and prosecutors want him caught.

Since January 2009, Chiofalo worked as the head of legal affairs at Tadano America. It was his job to contract with outside firms for legal services. But according to court documents, he allegedly set up a bogus law firm, "Maio and Cardenas.

Tadano America says he made a series of checks payable from TAC to that fictitious law firm for an amount of $9,329,546.81 in total, and that the money was deposited into an Amegy Bank account owned by Chiofalo.

Investigators say he was paid for work that never was done.

Tadano America is represeted by Hilder & Associates, P.C.

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Spring company accuses former board member of stealing $8 million

Glenna Herald

Ultimate Spring

June 12, 2012

A Spring company is suing over claims one of its board members schemed to steal $8 million from it.

Tadano America in Spring filed a lawsuit on Friday, June 8 in the Harris County District Court against Anthony Chiofalo, citing Texas Theft Liability Act, conversion, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.

Tadano America says in May, an investigation into excessive legal bills revealed that its general counsel and board member Chiofalo allegedly created fictitious law firms to raid company coffers. He used company funds to pay these nonexistent law firms more than $8 million, according to the brief.

The suit also alleges Chiofalo failed to inform his employer that New York suspended his attorney's license in 2010.

Tadano is seeking injunctive relief, attorney's fees, damages and court costs. It is being represented in the case by Houston attorney Philip Hilder.

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Lawyer charged with theft in fraudulent billing case

Houston Chronicle

Mike Tolson

June 12, 2012

Approaching 50 and fleeing a messy divorce that had gotten him in hot water with the New York bar association, Anthony Chiofalo decided to start anew in Texas. He got an in-house job with a Japanese manufacturer in Houston at an annual salary of $110,000 - not great money for a lawyer but enough for a comfortable life in a place where the cost of living was much less.

But Chiofalo apparently did not want a modest home in the suburbs. He and his new wife, Susan, decided something swankier was in order. And to pay for it he decided to supplement his salary with an alleged scheme to rip off his employer to the tune of $9 million. Or $9,329,546, to be exact.

That is the sum that local prosecutors claim Chiofalo got the Tadano America Corporation to pay fictitious law firms for work that was never done. The bogus firms amounted to little more than some stationery, a phony spreadsheet, and a rented mail box. And the bank account where all the checks ended up was one that only he controlled, according to charging documents filed by the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

Authorities are looking for Anthony Chiofalo, now 51, after charging him with felony theft last week. Susan Chiofalo, 50, was arrested on similar charges and released from Harris County Jail after posting bail on $100,000 bond. She could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Their dream home, the one they were renovating at Tadano's expense, is now part of a legal recovery action by the company, along with almost $2 million worth of artwork and collectables that might have been used to decorate the home.

"We're cautiously optimistic that we will be able to recover a fair amount of the assets," said Phil Hilder, a lawyer hired by Tadano to investigate Chiofalo and get as much money back as possible. "We have moved quickly."

As did Chiofalo, who according to a civil lawsuit filed Friday, first tested his scheme in November 2010. That's when he got Tadano to pay $25,000 as a retainer with a law firm he had invented. Using phony invoices from that and other fake firms, Chiofalo repeatedly upped the ante with a series of bills ranging from $20,000 to $1.3 million.

'He was trusted'

Chiofalo was hired by Tadano in 2009 as its general counsel, and part of his job was to oversee litigation involving the company. But the lawsuits that supposedly generated the huge legal bills either did not exist or were exaggerated as part of his scheme, Hilder said.

Had he not been greedy, Chiofalo might have been able to perpetuate the scheme for much longer.

"He was the company's chief legal officer and he was trusted," Hilder said. "The company relied on his representation regarding the litigation. Then they began to question the extent of the litigation. It had not been so extensive in the past. And that raised a red flag."

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Stanford seeks new trial based on publicity, prep time

Houston Chronicle

Terri Langford

March 21, 2012

A lack of sufficient prep time, excessive pre-trial publicity - and even Twitter - all contributed to an unfair guilty verdict against R. Allen Stanford, attorneys for the convicted con man claim in their request for a new trial filed this week.

"The Houston community was saturated with publicity prejudicial to Stanford," defense attorney Ali Fazel wrote in his 71-page request to U.S. District Judge David Hittner, the trial judge in the fraud case.

Stanford, who turns 62 on Saturday, was convicted March 6 on 13 of 14 counts that accused him of orchestrating a $7 billion investment fraud through his bank in the Caribbean nation of Antigua.

Sentencing is set for June 14, and Stanford could spend the rest of his life in prison.

The motion alleges that defense lawyers did not have adequate time to prepare for the trial after Stanford returned from nine months in a North Carolina prison hospital, where he was treated for addiction to medications prescribed when he was injured in a jailhouse fight.

Houston attorney Philip Hilder said for such a motion to be successful, Stanford's defense team would have to prove that the information actually made it to a juror.

"There's no difference between a reporter tweeting or in the old days going to a pay phone and transmitting the information," Hilder said. "It's just more real time and keeping up with realities of today's fast moving electronic age."

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Jurors: Evidence Overwhelming in Stanford Trial

Juan A. Lozano

AP

March 10, 2012

Jurors who convicted the financier on fraud-related charges for bilking investors out of more than $7 billion after a seven-week trial took to heart the words of prosecutor Gregg Costa. During his closing arguments he said Stanford "wasn't a rich person. He was a thief."

Defense attorneys portrayed Stanford as a visionary entrepreneur who made money for investors and conducted legitimate business deals. They accused the prosecution's star witness - James M. Davis, the former chief financial officer for Stanford's various companies - of being behind the fraud and tried to discredit him by calling him a liar and tax cheat.

Jurors David Wright and alternate juror Bruce Forrest said they found Davis credible and his testimony compelling.

"Jim Davis was most compelling. We believed him," said Forrest, 47, who runs an optical business.

Over more than four days of testimony, Davis detailed how he and Stanford faked the bank's profits and fabricated documents to hide the fraud.

Philip Hilder, a Houston criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor who followed the trial, said Davis' testimony was key to Stanford's conviction.

"His testimony was a killer," he said.

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Allen Stanford jury says unable to reach verdict

Reuters, The Economic Times

March 6, 2012

The jury weighing evidence against Allen Stanford said on Monday it was unable to reach a verdict in the trial of the former Texas financier.

Stanford, on trial in federal court in Houston, is accused of running a $7.1 billion Ponzi scheme.

After the jurors sent a note saying they were unable to reach a verdict, U.S. District Judge David Hittner called them into the courtroom and instructed them to keep deliberating, saying the trial had been costly in time and money. "I'm going to ask that you continue your deliberations," he said.

The jury started deliberating last Wednesday and has worked for more than 20 hours.

It was not clear whether jurors had failed to reach a verdict on any of the 14 counts against Stanford, or whether they had failed to do so on just some of the counts. Failure to agree on all counts could result in a mistrial.

Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor who has been following the trial, said it was not unusual for a jury to be deadlocked initially in a complex trial such as this one.

If they remain deadlocked, it could turn into a hung jury, but the more common outcome is that the jury comes up with a unanimous decision, said Hilder, a white-collar defense attorney in Houston.


Gen Re, AIG case gets a retrial

Bill Kenealy

Business Insurance

March 4, 2012

Former executives of General Reinsurance Corp. and American International Group Inc., whose convictions in a sham finite reinsurance deal were overturned, have a stronger hand going into a retrial scheduled for next year, experts say.

Philip Hilder, an attorney at Hilder & Associates P.C., a Houston law firm representing corporate defendants, said that while he does not expect the government to follow the same playbook as the first trial, prosecutors are limited to the evidence that was introduced in the first trial.

"The government case can't vary too much," Mr. Hilder said. "A retrial is a distinct advantage to the defense because they've already seen the weaknesses in the (prosecution's) case."

Another potential disadvantage for the prosecution is that defense attorneys can exploit the fading memories of witnesses to undermine their credibility, which Mr. Hilder said makes the outcome of a retrial uncertain.

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Condemned killer Swearingen back in court

Renee C. Lee

Houston Chronicle

February 28, 2012

Firm attorney and lead counsel James Rytting for condemned Larry Swearingen is back in court in a hearing granted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals after Mr. Swearingen received his third stay of execution. The days hearing dealt with expert entomologists.

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High Court Won't Hear Inmate's Evidence of Innocence

The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to consider stopping the execution of Larry Ray Swearingen, a firm client on Texas death row based on newly uncovered evidence proving his innocence.

James Rytting of Hilder & Associates, had asked the high court to decide for the first time whether executing an innocent person constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under the Constitution.

In a prior ruling Judge Jacques Wiener of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that Swearingen's appeal "might be the very case" for the Supreme Court "to recognize actual innocence as a ground for federal habeas relief."

Today also started the beginning of a hearing ordered by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals when it stayed Mr. Swearingen's execution last August. The hearing will deal with forensic evidence.

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Experts: Texas tycoon's testimony not worth risk

insurancenews.net

February 16, 2012

Juan A.Lozano, A.P.

If Texas tycoon R. Allen Stanford decides to testify in his ongoing fraud trial, it could be the most important sales pitch he's ever had to make.

With his freedom on the line, some legal experts question if the gamble of testifying is worth the risk that the larger-than-life businessman might come across as arrogant due to a jet-setting lifestyle that wouldn't connect with jurors. Of even greater concern is that he wouldn't be able to give a plausible explanation for what happened to the billions in investor funds he's accused of taking.

"I think it would be a horrible idea for him to testify. I think prosecutors are licking their chops hoping he would be foolish enough to testify," said

Andrew Stoltmann, a Chicago-based attorney who specializes in investment fraud and has been following the trial. "Jurors want to hear from the defendant. But the downside is the prosecution gets to use him as a pinata for a couple of days on the stand."

Defense attorneys had said at the start of the trial that Stanford would testify. But the defense's list of 26 potential witnesses, made public Wednesday, did not include the financier.

That doesn't necessarily mean he won't take the stand, but a gag order prevents attorneys from discussing the case.

Philip Hilder, a Houston criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, said Stanford and his attorneys will have to decide if there are matters only the financier can clarify.

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Experts: Stanford's trial not won with 1 witness

AP

Juan Lozano

February 12, 2012

From testimony about bribes, blood oaths, faked profits and secret Swiss bank accounts, the ongoing fraud trial of jailed and former jet setting Texas tycoon R. Allen Stanford has had its share of drama.

And many of the details about the alleged fraud that prosecutors say bilked investors out of more than $7 billion in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history were provided by Stanford's former top money man and the prosecution's star witness, James M. Davis, over more than four days of testimony.

But Stanford's attorneys did their best to tear down Davis and portray him to jurors as a liar, adulterer, tax cheat and the true mastermind of the scheme who has pleaded guilty to three fraud and conspiracy charges as part of a plea deal with prosecutors and will say anything to avoid a lengthy prison term.

While legal experts say Davis' credibility will be important with jurors during their deliberations, a fraud case as complex as this one isn't won or lost with one witness and Stanford's fate remains unclear.

"A trial is very much like a mosaic and the pieces in their entirety show the picture," said Philip Hilder, a Houston criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor who's followed the trial. "Mr. Davis' testimony, while key, is not the whole case."


Defense has tough decision: Should Stanford testify?

Houston Chronicle

Purva Patel

February 6, 2012

As the fraud trial of R. Allen Stanford progresses in Houston federal court, defense attorneys will have to make a critical decision: whether to put their client on the stand.

His lawyers told the jury as the trial began that he plans to testify, but that's not a commitment.

"It's always a calculated risk," said Philip Hilder, a Houston defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor who is not involved in the Stanford case.

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Once Bear teammates, Death Row's Green, DA Ligon battle over former tailback's execution

Your Conroe News

January 15, 2012

Montgomery County District attorney, Brett Ligon, is working to clear the execution of Jonathan Green who sits on Death Row. Less than four hours before he was set to die by lethal injection on June 30, 2010, Green, a schizophrenic, was granted a stay of execution by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals when questions were raised about his mental competence to be put to death. James Rytting of Hilder & Associates represents Mr. Green.

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Steffy: State of Stanford's defense may leave questions

Houston Chronicle

Loren Steffy

January 12, 2012

After three years, fallen billionaire R. Allen Stanford is set to go to trial in 10 days on charges he ran a $7 billion Ponzi scheme. Yet with the trial looming, his legal defense is in a shambles.

On Wednesday, his lawyers asked to withdraw from the case. A week before that, his expert witnesses quit because they hadn't been paid in three months.

Stanford's assets were frozen after his 2009 arrest, leaving him to rely on his company's insurance policy to pay for his defense. Stanford, who was denied bail and has remained in prison for almost three years, squandered most of the money on a revolving door of legal talent, going through 10 lawyers before the insurance company refused to pay for more.

Phillip Hilder, a Houston defense attorney who isn't involved in the case, said, "The defense is put in a no-win situation."

Hittner already told Stanford he can't have any more lawyers, so the judge is probably going to order the current legal team to see the case through.

Stanford has become the anti-Skilling. Accused of complex financial crimes, his shoestring defense has little in common with the Enron executive's gold-plated and relentless legal campaign. Jeff Skilling still fights the charges against him, five years and tens of millions of dollars after his conviction.

"In Enron, you had a cohesive defense, you had clients who were not incarcerated, you had clients who were of a sound mind, and you had financial resources," said Hilder, who represented Enron whistle-blower Sherron Watkins, a government witness in Skilling's trial. "All of that is lacking in the Stanford case. It's just a comedy of missteps."

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Swearingen back to court Feb. 27

Your Conroe News

Howard Roden

January 8, 2012

Attorneys involved in the Feb. 27 hearing of convicted killer Larry Ray Swearingen will meet Monday morning to discuss details of his return to court.

The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday in the 9th state District Court of Judge Fred Edwards.

Swearingen, 40, was sentenced to death in 2000 for the abduction and murder of 19-year-old college student Melissa Trotter. Her body was found Jan. 2, 1999, in the Sam Houston National Forest, 25 days after she was last seen leaving the Lone Star College-Montgomery campus off Texas 242.

In October, Edwards appointed Conroe attorney Steve Jackson to represent Swearingen during next month's hearing.

Jackson said the other two members of Swearingen's legal team, James Rytting and Philip Hilder, are excellent tort attorneys, and Jackson has spent the past few months getting up to speed on the case.

"What I've learned is that their evidence makes it impossible for Mr. Swearingen to have committed the crime when the prosecution said it did," Jackson said.


Stanford asks judge to delay trial after experts resign

Houston Chronicle

Purva Patel

January 2, 2012

Expert witnesses working for R. Allen Stanford's defense have resigned because they haven't been paid, according to a request made by the former billionaire's lawyers to postpone his trial.

Last week, U.S. District Judge David Hittner rejected a previous request for a 90-day continuance in the trial of Stanford, who is accused of swindling investors out of $7 billion. The latest request asks the judge to reconsider and notes Stanford - who was only recently deemed competent to assist his attorneys - needs time to go through the evidence in the case in order to assist in his defense.

So far, all expenses submitted to the district court have been within the budget previously submitted to the court, but experts haven't been paid for four months, according to a recent motion filed by Stanford's government- appointed lawyers.

While the district court usually handles approval of payments for indigent defendants like Stanford, the circuit court may step in when a case's budget looks like it will exceed the allocated funds, said Philip Hilder, a Houston attorney and former federal prosecutor.

There is usually an arbitrary lag time of weeks or months before payments are made after being submitted, but in such a time-consuming case, experts aren't necessarily going to "take it on good faith that they're going to get paid," Hilder said.

"The defense is in a difficult position because this particular case is expensive and yet they have a duty and obligation to zealously defend Mr. Stanford," Hilder said. "Unless the defense can properly and adequately utilize expert testimony, Mr. Stanford may have a claim for ineffective counsel."

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Energy operations lead corruption prosecutions

Houston Business Journal

Deon Daugherty

December 27, 2011

Although the energy industry tops the list of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, it's important to realize the oil and gas business sometimes operates in parts of the world where what looks like a bribe under U.S. law might be considered a gift elsewhere.

A new study by the James Mintz Group, a corporate investigations firm in New York, found that the FCPA of 1977 has led to the prosecution of more than 200 cases in 80 countries and more than $4 billion in sanctions - almost half of those financial penalties were levied against companies operating in the energy sector.

However, white-collar crime experts say those stats don't necessarily mean nefarious folks are running oil and gas companies.

"All of these companies operate in very difficult parts of the world," said Houston attorney, Philip Hilder, managing partner of the Hilder & Associates, PC law firm. "They've got to do a very delicate balancing act between operating legally under U.S. law and actually being able to compete on a global market with and against other companies from other countries that may be less than ethical.

"I wouldn't take the fact these companies have been prosecuted to say there's a corruption epidemic out there," he said. "The lesson to be taken away is it's important to have a compliance program in place and a strong code of conduct going forward because ... big brother is looking over your shoulder."

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Investors await justice as Stanford case crawls

Houston Chronicle

Purva Patel

December 18, 2011

Nearly three years after former Houston billionaire R. Allen Stanford's arrest, investors who lost money in an alleged $7 billion Ponzi scheme still wait for resolution: a trial, restitution, some sign of justice.

The case is scheduled for another step Tuesday, when Stanford, 61, is scheduled to appear in Houston federal court for a hearing to determine if he is competent to stand trial.

That will be the latest link in a long and complex chain that includes repeated changes in Stanford's legal representation, and a jailhouse fight that resulted in drug dependency and possible brain damage.

Defendants can have mental defects or brain injuries and still be competent to understand the proceedings against them and help in their defense, said Sorrels, who has won a case for a client judged not guilty by reason of insanity.

Philip Hilder, a Houston attorney and former federal prosecutor, noted that while drug dependency usually can be treated, the severity of Stanford's head injury could be another matter.

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Enron wasn't all bad news for one couple

abc13

abc 13

Jessica Willey

December 2, 2011

Ten years ago, we saw hundreds of shocked employees packing up and heading out. "It was a very very dark day," Attorney Phillip Hilder said. Hilder represented Sherron Watkins, now dubbed the Enron whistle blower, "She was as cool as a cucumber," Hilder said. He was with her when she testified before Congress."Enron is a tale of greed and I think that if there is a lesson to be learned is that greed can corrupt even good people and good ideas," Hilder said.

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Sherron Watkins has a story to tell and tell again

Houston Chronicle

November 28, 2011

Purva Patel

sw1

sw2

For Sherron Watkins, telling the story of Enron's downfall never seems to get old.

The former Enron vice president who tried to warn other top executives of flaws in the company's accounting has since been traveling the world to talk about Enron, ethics and leadership to trade groups and corporate executives.

With Houston writer Mimi Swartz, Watkins co-authored Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron and was named one of Time's Persons of the Year in 2002.

In the middle of the decade, she thought the story had grown stale and started talking about other topics, but audiences still wanted to hear about the fallen energy giant.

She compares the company's collapse to a car wreck that passers-by can't help slowing down to observe.

"People want to know the lessons learned and that it can't happen to them, but there's also still the fascination of what was a giant implosion," she said.

Sherron Watkins is a client of Philip H. Hilder.

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6th Annual ABA National Institute on Securities Fraud

On November 3-4, 2011 Philip Hilder co-chaired the American Bar Associati6NISFon 6th Annual National Institute on Securities Fraud held in New Orleans. The program faculty also included Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division United States Department of Justice and Robert S. Khuzami Director, Division of Enforcement United States Securities and Exchange Commission.


6th Annual ABA National Institute on Securities Fraud: Social Media Panel

On November 4, 2011 Philip Hilder moderated a panel dealing with the use of social media in defending a client at the ABA National Institute on Securities Fraud in New Orleans. The panel included Carrie Johnson, Justice Correspondent with National Public Radio and Kara Scannell, white collar crime reporter for the Financial Times. Mr. Hilder is the co-chair of the program.

Click for Power Point Presentation


Independent Police Oversight Board of Directors

Philip Hilder was confirmed to serve on the Independent Police Oversight Board of Directors by Houston City Council on October 26, 2011 after being appointed by Mayor Parker. The purpose of the Board is to review internal police investigations of possible misconduct by the Houston Police Department that involve allegations of excessive force, discharge of firearms, serious bodily injury or death, serious internal investigation, and mistreatment of citizens.


BNP Paribas Sued by U.S. Over Banker's Alleged Role in Fraud

Bloomberg

Laura Brubaker Calkins

October 19, 2011

BNP Paribas SA was sued by the U.S. over allegations the Paris-based bank aided a grain export fraud scheme involving commodity payment guarantees provided by the Department of Agriculture.

When the Mexican importers defaulted on payments for dozens of grain shipments from 1998 to 2006, BNP and Jovenal "Jerry" M. Cruz, its former trade finance manager, "presented or caused to be presented false or fraudulent claims to the USDA," Zingaro said in the complaint, which also names Cruz, BNP Paribas North America and BNP Paribas Houston Agency as defendants.

Philip Hilder, Cruz's attorney, said in a phone interview that the former BNP vice president has entered a plea of not guilty and is awaiting trial in February. Three other people charged in the scheme have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing, according to court records.

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Wall Street Journal, Sherron Watkins

October 17, 2011

The Wall Street Journal has featured stories on Enron and the role of whistleblower Sherron Watkins. Philip Hilder represented Ms. Watkins before congress and in the dealings with the Government.

Lasting Fame For Her Role

The Shadow of Enron Still Lingers


Eversole expected to plead guilty this morning

Houston Chronicle

Mike Morris

September 30, 2011

Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole, who announced his resignation from office last week as part of an apparent plea deal, is expected to formalize that deal this morning in federal court.

Eversole and his codefendant Mike Surface will appear before U.S. District Judge David Hittner at 10 a.m.

Sentencing will follow at a later date, perhaps not until next year, said Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor who is not connected to the Eversole case.

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News Corp.'s other hacking scandal

POLITICO

September 29, 2011

Firm client Robert Emmel is in the news and referred to in the Politico's story "News Corp's other hacking Scandal.

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Eversole may enter guilty plea Sept. 30

Houston Chronicle

Mike Morris

September 22, 2011

Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole, who on Monday announced his resignation as part of an apparent plea deal, appears likely to formalize that deal in a federal court Sept. 30, according to documents filed with the court this afternoon.

The document, a "notice of setting," says Eversole and his co-defendant Mike Surface will appear before Judge David Hittner at 10 a.m. on Sept. 30 for a "re-arraignment hearing."

"It is a confirmation that a plea deal has occurred and that a plea of guilty will be officially entered by the court to the charges contained in the criminal information," said former federal prosecutor Philip Hilder, who is not connected to the Eversole case.

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Eversole resigns; Emmett to appoint successor

Mike Morris

September 19, 2011

Houston Chronicle

Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry Eversole, weeks away from being retried on federal corruption charges, on Monday announced his resignation from office, effective Oct. 1.

Eversole submitted a resignation letter to County Judge Ed Emmett's office at 2 p.m. About 4 p.m., the U.S. Attorney's Office filed court documents that suggest Eversole's resignation was part of negotiations with prosecutors that could see him and his co-defendant plead guilty to lesser charges, legal experts said.

The Department of Justice has alleged Eversole took nearly $100,000 in cash and gifts from friend Michael Surface in exchange for steering lucrative county contracts to companies in which Surface had an interest. Eversole has denied any wrongdoing, and his attorneys have characterized the government's case as criminalizing a friendship.

Documents filed with the court Monday suggest Eversole - who is facing four charges - may plead guilty to one count of making a false statement to FBI agents, said former federal prosecutor Philip Hilder. That charge carries up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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News Corp. and Enron: scandals with much in common

Philip Hilder

September 18, 2011

Houston Chronicle

Corporate culture takes root in the statements, behavior and tolerances of those at the top. Honesty and honor can flourish in a business when practiced by its leaders. And deceit and concealment can become the mores of a company when employees are led in that direction.

When captains of industry build a corruption-endorsing culture, they seem to also later disavow responsibility and knowledge. So it goes right now for Rupert Murdoch in the News Corp. phone hacking scandal and so it went a decade ago for the late Ken Lay in the Enron financial scandal.

From the vantage point of people in the corporate ranks who saw trouble brewing, the current News Corp. disgrace has a lot in common with Enron's 2001 fall. As the current lawyer forRobert Emmel, a News America (a News Corp. subsidiary) whistle-blower, and the former lawyer for Sherron Watkins, an Enron vice president who famously warned of impending doom at the company, I see unpleasant similarities too.


News Corp. Ex-Employee Said Contacted in U.S.

Tom Schoenberg

September 16, 2011

Bloomberg

Prosecutors investigating hacking and bribery allegations at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. (NWSA) are seeking to interview a former employee of a U.S. unit who claims knowledge of illegal activity at the company, according to a person familiar with the matter.

U.S. prosecutors in Manhattan this month contacted a lawyer for Robert Emmel, a former account director at News America Marketing In-Store LLC, about allegations of hacking and possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, said the person, who wasn't authorized to discuss the matter.

Philip Hilder, a lawyer for Emmel, said in an interview that "authorities have reached out" to him. Hilder declined to identify the investigators or what they are seeking.

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Investigators Reach Out To News Corp. Whistleblower In U.S

Eric Boehlert

Media Matters

September 16, 2011

In another sign that allegations of News Corp. misconduct are being closely reviewed by law enforcement in the United States in the wake of the company's sweeping phone-hacking scandal in Britain, Media Matters has learned that investigators have reached out to Robert Emmel, a former News Corp. employee turned-whistleblower.

Now, in the wake of the widespread phone-hacking done by Murdoch's tabloid journalists in Britain, U.S. investigators are taking a fresh look at the News America allegations and for the first time have reached out to Emmel, confirms Philip Hilder, an attorney for Emmel.

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ABA Appointment

On August 5, 2011 Philip H. Hilder, Hilder & Associates, P.C., was appointed National Vice Chair of the ABA-Criminal Justice Section - White Collar Crime Committee at the ABA annual meeting held in Toronto, Canada


Did a Top GOP Staffer for Sen. Grassley Cover Up Evidence of News Corp Hacking In The US?

Thinkprogress

September 7, 2011

Lee Fang

A top investigator for the Senate Finance Committee, working under Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), may have had smoking gun evidence of News Corp's hacking activity. While News Corp's British subsidiaries have received the most media attention for systematically hacking the cell phone and personal records of private citizens, the public still has heard little of allegations relating to similar conduct perpetrated by News Corp against its American competitors. ThinkProgress has learned that not only did a sensitive tip come to Grassley's office about News Corp's cyber attacks against other American companies, but authorities may have failed to look into the matter partially because a staffer named Nick Podsiadly allegedly never followed through on his promise to the whistleblower.

Podsiadly, as it turned out, may have never opened an inquiry or passed along Emmel's tip to the Department of Justice. A spokeswoman for Grassley explained to the Guardian that ongoing litigation prevented the committee from action:

A spokeswoman for the finance committee saidnothing would be done with any documents sent by Emmel until the litigation over them had ended. Emmel today remains under a court-imposed injunction that forbids him from disclosing anything from these documents. "I cannot comment," he said.

Philip Hilder, Emmel's attorney, is not buying the committee's excuse for not investigating the matter. "What litigation? I'm not sure at the time there was any litigation that they were referring to." Hilder explained that to his knowledge the tip was never referred to the Department of Justice either. "I have no idea what if anything Mr. Podsiadly did with the information," said Hilder, a former federal prosecutor.

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Hacking exposes holes in officers Web security

Houston Chronicle

September 3, 2011

By: Terry Langford

A cyber-attack on the email accounts of Texas police chiefs revealed the vulnerability even of the state's top cops and appears to have prompted a new investigation into a notorious hacking group.

The stealthy group known as Anonymous claimed responsibility for "Texas Takedown Thursday." The email accounts of 25 members of the Texas Police Chiefs Association were compromised and their contents posted online.

Philip Hilder, a Houston defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, said the group's members could be prosecuted under Texas or federal laws prohibiting unauthorized access to computer systems.

"I think it just underscores how fast technology is moving and that really it seems that no system is above a potential breach," Hilder said.

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Is Rick Perry Ready to Execute an Innocent Man?

The Nation

Jordan Smith

Swearingen was scheduled to die on August 18. But his execution was stayed in late July by the state's highest criminal court, the notoriously pro-prosecution Court of Criminal Appeals, in order to have the trial court consider new evidence: Histological samples of Trotter's cardiac, lung and vascular tissue that a growing number of doctors, including well-respected Texas pathologists, say show conclusively that Swearingen could not have killed Trotter.

Had Swearingen's lawyers focused on the medical evidence more closely, they could have built another road-the one that Rytting has been developing since taking the case on appeal: medical proof does not match the state's theory of the case, and points strongly toward another killer, he says. Evidence left unexplained includes male DNA found in Trotter's fingernails, which does not match Swearingen. But more importantly, there is the tissue evidence that more than a half-dozen respected forensic scientists from Texas and beyond say is completely inconsistent with the state's theory of Trotter's death.

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Goldman Sachs CEO hires criminal defense lawyer

LA Times

August 23, 2011

Nathaniel Popper and Walter Hamilton

Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein has hired a prominent Washington criminal law attorney to defend him against any charges resulting from government investigations into the financial crisis.

The decision to bring on a top legal name such as Weingarten suggests how seriously Blankfein is taking the investigation and that there could be a new push to investigate the firm and its executives on criminal grounds. The move to hire an outside attorney was first reported by Reuters.

"He's got an incredible amount to lose, and there's a lot of anger out there," said Philip Hilder, a criminal-defense attorney in Houston. "It signifies that the investigations are serious in tone and that he's not taking them lightly."

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A life unravelled ... whistleblower who incurred wrath of the Murdoch empire

guardian.co.uk

Ed Pilkington

August 17, 2011

Also in the Huffington Post

Five years ago Robert Emmel was enjoying the American dream. He lived in a detached house in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, drove a BMW, and earned $140,000 a year as an accounts director in a highly successful advertising company called News America Marketing.

Today, Emmel is described by his lawyers as destitute. Jobless and in debt, he was discharged from bankruptcy last year. He does occasional consultancy work that last month brought in $500, and this month, court documents show, will probably produce nothing. His wife's earnings raise monthly household income to about $3,000 - half their outgoings.

This is a cautionary tale about what can happen to someone who dares to become a corporate whistleblower. Or, more specifically, someone who incurs the wrath of News Corporation, the media empire owned by Rupert Murdoch, of which News America forms a part.

Emmel's lawyer, Philip Hilder, has had a ringside seat at the gradual unravelling of his client's life. A former federal prosecutor based in Houston, Texas, Hilder is well versed in whistleblower cases having represented Sherron Watkins, who helped uncover the Enron scandal. Hilder said: "News America has engaged in Rambo litigation tactics. They have a scorched earth policy, and it's taken a huge toll on him."

Emmel today remains under a court-imposed injunction that forbids him from disclosing anything from these documents. "I cannot comment," he said.

Hilder said he was struck by an irony in the Emmel case. "Here is a company, News Corp, that is in the business of disseminating information to the public, and yet its subsidiary does everything in its power to silence him."

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News Corp division comes under scrutiny

Kara Scannell

Financial Times

August 9, 2011

Following the phone hacking scandal in the UK, claims of computer hacking and other anti-competitive behaviour against a supermarket advertising company that is a unit of News Corp have attracted the attention of US officials.

In-store advertiser Floorgraphics sued News America Marketing, a News Corp division that sells newspaper inserts, coupons and in-store advertising, in 2004 for allegedly engaging in anti-competitive tactics, including hacking into its password-protected computer system in order to access proprietary advertising contracts.

Robert Emmel, a News America employee turned whistleblower, testified at the Floorgraphics trial and also provided documents to Senate investigators and others in 2006.

Mr Emmel's attorney, Philip Hilder, said his client "in the past had provided information to the authorities regarding News America. To date, he has not been subpoenaed to follow up."

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In Murder Case, Science May Get Its Day in Court

Brandi Grissom

August 7, 2011

New York Times/ Texas Tribune

In a rare move last week, the notoriously pro-prosecution Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stayed Mr. Swearingen's scheduled Aug. 18 execution and ordered a lower court to review his claims of actual innocence.

For Mr. Swearingen and his lawyers, the stay was a big victory. "This stay acknowledges powerful scientific evidence of innocence," Mr. Rytting said.

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Finite convictions overturned

Business Insurance

Sonya Ryst

August 7, 2011

Former executives of General Re Corp. and American International Group Inc. convicted in 2008 in connection with a bogus finite reinsurance deal have been given another chance to clear their names.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York last week overturned the convictions and ordered a new trial, ruling in part that the jury had been improperly instructed.

"It was a meritorious decision by the court," said Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor who is in criminal defense at Hilder & Associates P.C. in Houston. "There were infirmities that needed to be addressed...and the government will have another bite of the apple."

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Feds allege 'fraudulent schemes' by sports booster

Houston Chronicle

August 1, 2011

By Purva Patel and David Barron

Basketball booster David Salinas, his companies and a business associate took money from clients for investment in bogus corporate bonds, regulators said today as they moved to seize company assets.

Former federal prosecutor Philip Hilder, a Houston attorney who specializes in white collar crime cases, said today's civil filings Monday are among the first steps in a process that could take several years and is still not likely to satisfy investors who may have lost money.

Recovery is always spotty, and investors never get paid back the full amount that they have lost, he said. "It's premature to speculate what investors may be able to recoup, and it's fair to say that it won't be to their satisfaction."

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Condemned inmate Swearingen gets reprieve

Houston Chronicle

July 29, 2011

Renee C. Lee

Death row inmate Larry Swearingen has dodged an execution date for a third time in the 1998 slaying of a Montgomery County college student.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled Thursday that new evidence in Swearingen's appeal raised the issue of due process violation. The court remanded the case to the 9th state District Court in Montgomery County for a hearing.

Swearingen's attorney, James Rytting, said his client was convicted on false forensic testimony. A former Harris County medical examiner who testified during Swearingen's capital murder trial changed her testimony in 2007.

"It was a courageous decision by the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals," Rytting said. "It was the right decision, and it acknowledges the science in this case is powerful proof that Mr. Swearingen could not have committed the crime."

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Stay Of Execution granted for Firm Client Larry Ray Swearingen

Firm announces a stay of execution of Larry Ray Swearingen by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Firm attorney James G. Rytting was able to secure a stay of execution that was scheduled for August 18, 2011. The Court remanded the Application to the trial court to review and resolve the claims raised.

Click to read Order


Troubles That Money Can’t Dispel

David Carr

The New York Times

July 17, 2011

The News Corp scandal has exposed a wide troublesome corporate culture for the company. Bob Emmel was the whistleblower on a related Murdock company, News America. Due in large part to Mr. Emmel's testimony,  the company has paid out over $650 million to settle lawsuits. Philip Hilder of Hilder & Associates, P.C. represents Mr. Emmel.

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Obama nominates Magidson for top federal prosecutor post

Houston Chronicle

Brian Rogers

June 28, 2011

President Barack Obama on Tuesday chose four nominees for the top federal prosecutor positions in Texas, including Kenneth Magidson for the Houston-based Southern District of Texas.

Before Tuesday's nominations, 12 of the 93 U.S. attorney posts in the country had remained unfilled, including four in Texas.

Phillip Hilder, a friend and colleague of Magidson's, said the career prosecutor is apolitical, which afforded him the appointment by Perry in 2008, then a federal nomination three years later by a Democratic president.

"Kenny ultimately understands that a prosecutor is supposed to seek justice, which can be an unpopular move," said Hilder, a former federal prosecutor who worked with Magidson in the 1980s. "It's clear his appointment is based on his competency - not his politics."

He also said Magidson is uniquely qualified to understand the district where he has worked for 28 years.



Aug. 18 execution date set for Conroe student's killer

Houston Chronicle

Renee C. Lee

June 28, 2011

A judge has set an Aug. 18 execution date for condemned killer Larry Swearingen, who has twice eluded lethal injection for the slaying of a college student in Montgomery County.

Swearingen was convicted in 2000 for the kidnapping, rape and strangulation of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter, a Montgomery College student who disappeared from the Conroe campus on Dec. 8, 1998. Her body was found nearly a month later in the Sam Houston National Forest with a piece of pantyhose around her neck.

The Texas Court of Appeals denied Swearingen's most recent petition in February 2010.

Swearingen's attorney, James Rytting, said he has filed another petition with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Swearingen won stays of execution in January 2007 and January 2009. In each case, the reprieve came a day before his execution.

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Judge rules environmentalist lawsuit against Enron can proceed

Erwin Seba

June 8, 2011

Thompson Reuters

A federal judge on Tuesday said two environmental groups' could sue for enforcement of federal pollution standards at Exxon Mobil Corp's Baytown, Texas, refinery, the nation's largest.

Exxon, the largest U.S. refiner, had asked federal Judge David Hitner to throw out the lawsuit because the Baytown refinery is already subject to federal Clean Air Act enforcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For the plaintiffs: Philip Hilder of Hilder & Associates; Bracha Etengoff, Joshua Kratka and Charles Caldart of National Environmental Law Center; David Nicholas.

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Family accused of stealing $13M from energy firm

Brian Rogers

June 6, 2011

Houston Chronicle

Harris County prosecutors today said a former accountant and several members of her family stole more than $13 million from a Houston oil and gas company over 10 years.

Nancy Moreno is accused of paying dummy accounts with company money while working at Davis-Lynch, an oilfield service company. Moreno set up the bogus accounts to funnel money to herself and several relatives.

Philip Hilder, an attorney for the Trevinos, declined to comment, saying he will argue the couple's case in court.

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Former Enron prosecutor to take top White House job

Tom Fowler

Houston Chronicle

June 2, 2011

A former prosecutor of Enron executives has been tapped to serve as President Barack Obama's top lawyer. Ruemmler, now 40, was among the youngest of the attorneys involved in the Enron cases when she joined the Enron Task Force. The Richland, Wash., native and Georgetown University Law Center grad became second in command of the group when former Enron Chairman Ken Lay and CEO Jeff Skilling went to trial in 2006. She gave the closing argument for the government. Philip Hilder, a Houston defense attorney who represented a number of former Enron workers who were witnesses, praised Ruemmler's work. "She has a profound sense of justice and doesn't see her role as one to win at all costs," Hilder said. "She was deliberate and thoughtful in her actions, not one who would shoot from the hip."While some Enron prosecutors drew the ire of the defense bar, Ruemmler was consistently reasonable to work with, Hilder said.

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Galleon verdict shows power of wire taps

Kara Scannell

FT.com

May 11, 2011

The conviction of hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam is likely to spur the use of wire taps by prosecutors aiming to halt abusive trading, lawyers say.

"You can't just say 'a conversation was taken out of context' when you have a recorded phone call," says Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor. "It is one of the most powerful tools a prosecutor has and to utilise them in a white-collar case like this one is devastating for the defence."

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Philip Hilder is interviewed on KIAH regarding  the Clements case

ClementsBonds

Click For Video


Hearing in Clemens case today

Houston Chronicle

Jose De Jesus Ortiz

April 20, 2011

"I think one of the big issues is Mr. Clemens had subpoenaed documents from Congress that were prepared in their internal investigation into performance-enhancement drugs in baseball," said former federal prosecutor Philip Hilder.

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Dismissal in State Court

April 10, 2011

Firm obtained Government dismissal for a clients accused of theft. The case was heard before State court.


Dismissal of Federal Indictment

March 31, 2011

Firm obtained a Government dismissal of a federal indictment against a client dentist charged in a Medicaid anti-kickback scheme. The case was being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas.


Shortage forces Texas to switch execution drug

Dallas News

March 16, 2011

Houston defense lawyer Phillip H. Hilder derided the pentobarbital choice and said that Texas prison officials needed to be more "transparent" in making the decision. Hilder predicted that the move would ultimately wind up in the courts.

"The fact that it has been used and individuals executed doesn't mean that it's humane," Hilder said. "It may mean that it's effective, but not humane. Electrocution is effective but has been proven to not be humane. You have to dig deeper."

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In Praise of Whistleblowers

Sherron FT

The Financial Times ran a column about the importance of the role whistleblowers play in corporate culture. The author writes It takes brave individuals to act as whistleblowers and should be thanked for helping to create an environment that values an ethical, sustainable and profitable approach to management" The article features Mrs. Sherron Watkins, the Enron Whistle blower and client of Philip H. Hilder.

Click for Financial Times Article


21st Annual National Institute on Healthcare Fraud Program

Philip H. Hilder will be a part of the panel "Trail Practice Demonstration" at the 21st Annual National Institute on Healthcare Fraud Program being held in Miami, Florida on May 11-13, 2011.

TRIAL PRACTICE DEMONSTRATION - U.S. v. Fallah, et al (S.D. Texas)

This case involved ambulance transportation of dialysis patients to regularly scheduled non-emergency dialysis treatments. The indictment charged the defendants with false and fraudulent claims for medically unnecessary ambulance transports, kickbacks to ambulance transportation companies, and money laundering. This jury trial involved significant issues in the application of rules for reimbursement and ambiguity of the regulations. The case also included issues of proper jury instruction, and damages in connection with the false claims, kickbacks to the ambulance companies and to the patients.

Click for Program Brochure

Click To Register


Philip H. Hilder interviewed on KIAH News on the Jessica Tata Case

March 1, 2011

tata

Click Here for video and full story


Joint FBA/ABA luncheon

On February 17, 2011, Philip Hilder, Chair of the Federal Bar Association, Criminal Section (So. TX Chapter), and the ABA White Collar Crime Subcommittee, Criminal Justice Section, Regional Co-Chair, introduced Rose Romero, the Regional Director of the Fort Worth Office of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, at the joint FBA/ABA luncheon. Ms. Romero spoke on the current trends and enforcement initiatives of the S.E.C.


Philip H. Hilder interviewed on KIAH News on the Jeffery Stern Case

Stern

February 1, 2011 Philip Hilder was asked to comment on the Jeffery Sterns case by KIAH Chanel 39 News.

Attorneys busy in Clemens case

Saturday, January 22, 2011, Houston Chronicle sought legal opinion for a story dealing with Astros pitcher Roger Clemens who is under indictment. The paper cited legal experts contacted by the Chronicle. The Chronicle asked Philip Hilder the merits. "It's not necessarily a baseless motion by the government," said local attorney, Philip Hilder. "It's got to be heard by the court to determine if there's a conflict and if so the extent and if it can be cured by bringing in a second lawyer to handle the examination of Mr. Pettitte.

Click for Houston Chronicle Story


Bribery, Business & Soccer Tickets: UK Law Puts Businesses on Defense

eatsoccer.blogspot.com

Who knew that tickets to a Arsenal match could land a U.S. business in hot water, and possibly have an executive facing up to 10 years in the slammer?
These are questions that attorneys, such as Philip Hilder, a white-collar criminal defense attorney at Hilder & Associates in Houston, are trying quickly understand the answers to for their clients.

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Philip Hilder to speak at the American Industrial Hygiene Association Gulf Coast Section

Houston Chronicle

Meeting. 5:30-8 p.m., Brady's Landing,8505 Cypress. Speaker: Philip Hilder, former attorney-in-charge of the U.S. Justice Department's Organized Crime Strike Force in Houston. Topic:Criminal Prosecution for a Safety Violation Is No Accident. Cost: $10-$25. Information: Gerry Luther, 281-356-6038, ext. 238.


Philip Hilder was interviewed by Dallas Talk Radio, KRLD

January 10, 2011 radio interview - Tom DeLay, the former House Majority Leader, was sentenced on January 10, 2011, to 3 years for conspiracy to commit money laundering.Philip Hilder, was interviewed by Dallas Talk Radio, KRLD about the sentencing and likely appeal.


Philip H. Hilder featured in one of Bloombergs Photographs of 2010

bp

January 4, 2010 - While representing a client before a board of inquiry on the Gulf Oil Spill,Philip Hilder was photographed providing advice to his BP client. This photo was one of the recipients of the Best Bloomberg Photos Award of 2010 From Around the World.


Death Penalty Evidentiary Hearing Granted by Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

On December 15, 2010, James G. Rytting of Hilder & Associates, P.C. was successful in obtaining an evidentiary hearing from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas for death penalty client, Ronald Jeffrey Prible, Jr. Mr. Rytting had filed an Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus based upon previous litigation where the federal district found that several of Mr. Prible's claims were unexhausted. The Court of Criminal Appeals has remanded the case back to the trial court so that the habeas corpus record can be supplemented with evidence.


exxon

Environmentalists sue ExxonMobil over air laws

Associated Press

December 14, 2010

The largest oil refinery in the United States released more than 8 million pounds of illegal pollution in the past five years, violating the federal Clean Air Act thousands of times, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by environmental groups in Texas.

The lawsuit against ExxonMobil is the latest by Sierra Club and Environment Texas as part of their campaign to rein in what they call "illegal emissions" by dozens of refineries and chemical plants that operate in the Texas Gulf Coast. In recent months, the groups have reached multimillion-dollar, out-of-court settlements with Shell and Chevron Phillips after filing similar suits. Philip H. Hilder is lead counsel for the plaintiffs in this suit.

Click for Full Story

Click for Suit

Press Release


Sierra Club sues Exxon over Baytown refinery pollution

Erwin Seba and Jeff Roberts

Reuters Legal

December 14, 2010

The Sierra Club and Environment Texas filed a federal lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Corp for five years of excess pollution at the nation's largest refinery, the Sierra Club said on Tuesday.

The lawsuit alleges Exxon's refinery and chemical plant in Baytown, Texas, committed over 2,500 violations of the Clean Air Act between 2005 and 2010 and released over 8 million lbs of pollutants into the atmosphere, said Neil Carman, clean air director of the Sierra Club's Texas chapter

The case is Environment Texas Citizen Lobby, Inc et al v. ExxonMobil Corporation et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, No. 4:10-cv-04969. The docket states that Philip Hilder of Hilder & Associates is lead counsel for the plaintiffs.

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Medicaid fraud crackdown threatens citizens' rights

Philip H. Hilder

Houston Chronicle

December 11, 2010

Constitutional protections are being hastily overlooked in our government's zeal to crack down on Medicaid fraud. But even that worthy cause doesn't merit a denigration of citizens' rights.

In the case of Medicaid fraud, the Texas Legislature has not only encouraged but required government agencies to mix civil and criminal investigations on such a regular basis that the constitutional rights of the people and businesses being investigated are being trampled routinely.

Click for Full Article


Clemens gets more time to prep for trial

Jose de Jesus Ortiz

December 9, 2010

Houston Chronicle

For almost two years, former Sen. George Mitchell's investigators traveled the country looking into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. Once Mitchell's report for Major League Baseball implicated former Astro Roger Clemens and several other prominent players, Congress went digging some more.

Some attorneys predict that both will ultimately have to turn over evidence once Hardin files a subpoena for the material in question.

"I think that Clemens is going to be able to get information in that there's no separation of powers in this particular case," said former federal prosecutor Philip Hilder, who represented Enron whistle-blower Sherron Watkins in congressional hearings. "If this evidence is deemed to be exculpatory or favorable to them, then the government, regardless of branch, has the ethical obligation to turn (it) over."

If the Mitchell commission shared information with the committee, its claims of attorney-client and attorney work-product privileges could be compromised, making the information in question available to Hardin.

"If the Mitchell investigators shared information with the congressional investigators or staff," Hilder said, "then any privilege would be waived and Mr. Clemens would be entitled (to the material)."

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KTRH News Radio Round Table

December 2, 2010

Live Radio discussion with Philip H. Hilder regarding the impact of the collapse of Enron on its anniversary of bankruptcy.


KTRH News Radio

December 1, 2010

Philip H. Hilder was interviewed regarding fraud related to the current financial crisis


Commodities Regulator May Be Sleeping Giant-Firm Commentary

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has the reputation of a bulky bureaucracy that is too ineffectual to effectively discover and prosecute irregularities in the trading of cotton, soybeans or pork bellies the way the Securities and Exchange Commission does in the stock market. "But the Dodd-Frank Act that reforms Wall Street and our financial regulatory system may have added enough teeth to the CFTC to make the government agency a contender," says Houston white-collar criminal lawyer Philip Hilder of Hilder & Associates. "The CFTC now has increased enforcement authority and new rules for stepped up reporting by traders it watches. Those things and the bounty hunter-like whistleblower provisions should change the prosecutorial effectiveness and reputation of the agency."


DeLay's conviction starts lengthy appeals process

RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI

November 25, 2010

Associated Press, Kansas City Star

The conviction of Tom DeLay, once one of the most powerful Republican wheelers-and-dealers in Congress, marks the beginning of a lengthy and vehement appeals process that will seek to cleanse the name and record of the former House majority leader.

Some legal experts argue that such unprecedented cases immediately raise the interest of the appellate courts. Others, however, note that Texas' conservative, largely Republican appellate courts do not have a strong record of siding with defendants.

"Statistically, he is going to be fighting an uphill battle," said Philip H. Hilder, a former prosecutor who is now a Houston-based criminal attorney concentrating on white-collar cases.

The courts could see it as a "partisan fight" though, Hilder said.

"Then the courts are of his political persuasion," he added. "But still, they would have to rely on precedent and they will have to really do back flips to do any favor to him."

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Judge Has Many Options in Sentencing ex-Rep DeLay

By: Juan A. Lozano
AP, Houston Chronicle

November 25, 2010

Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay argued throughout his trial that the deck was stacked against him by a politically motivated prosecutor and a jury from the most Democratic city in one of the most Republican states.

But following DeLay's conviction Wednesday on money laundering and conspiracy charges, some legal experts say the edge may now shift to the Republican who represented a conservative Houston suburb for 22 years.

Before DeLay's inevitable appeal, which his lawyers predict will be a far friendlier process than his trial, he faces sentencing next month from Senior Judge Pat Priest. While technically the money laundering charge carries a punishment of up to life in prison, the judge has wide latitude and could end up just giving him probation.

"It is absolutely impossible he would get anywhere near life," said Philip Hilder, a Houston criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor. "It would be a period of a few years, if he gets prison."

DeLay opted to be sentenced by Priest, a Democrat, rather than a jury in heavily Democratic Austin. Hilder said that was a wise move, particularly if DeLay thinks he might be able to get by with just a probation sentence.

"The judge may be more receptive than a jury," Hilder said. "He obviously thinks he will get a fairer shake with the judge. The jury more likely would sentence him to prison time."

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Chevron Philips Chemical Company Settlement

November 17, 2010

Hilder & Associates, P.C. announce a $2 Million settlement in a law suit against Chevron Phillips Chemical Company. The law firm is local counsel to the National Environment Law Center and assisted representation the Sierra Club and Environment Texas. The suit, filed under the Clean Air Act, found repeated violations by Chevron Phillips Chemical of Baytown, Texas that resulted in more than a million pounds of toxic pollution. It is hoped that the settlement agreement will promote the facility to significantly reduce air emissions, force extensive operational upgrades and increase air monitoring. The $2 Million penalty will establish an Environmental Health Clinic for children to be run by Baylor College of Medicine.Hilder & Associates, P.C. was also local counsel in a similar prior matter against Shell Oil Company in 2009, where a $5.8 Million settlement was reached including the agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions at Shell's Deer Park, Texas refinery.


5 years after indictments, DeLay's trial begins

AP

October 26, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, one of the most polarizing politicians of the Bush years, is finally getting his day in court, five years after being charged with illegally funneling corporate money to help elect Republicans to the Texas Legislature.

Philip Hilder, a Houston criminal defense attorney, said he does not believe the charges against DeLay are politically motivated.

"I think it is the responsibility of the district attorney to make sure the spirit of the finance laws are complied with, to ensure fairness in the system," said Hilder, a former federal prosecutor.

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Law makes it easier to blow whistle on corporate crime

By: Philip H. Hilder
Houston Chronicle

October 17, 2010

Also published in the White Collar Crime Prof Blog

In reaction to the Bernie Madoff scandal, Congress has offered lucrative bounties and effectively deputized millions of Americans to tell the government about insider trading, securities fraud, bribery of overseas businesses and governments and a host of financial crimes that employees may see on the job.

The stakes are higher than when my client Sherron Watkins, a one-time Enron vice president, warned her bosses in 2001 about the company's accounting scandal. She was rewarded with inquiries about how to fire her. Back then, Watkins could not have cashed in on the potential bonanza for whistleblowers established earlier this year in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

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"The Supreme Court Ruling on 'Honest Services' Fraud and Ramifications to the Business Community: Skilling vs. U.S. Examined" Panel

On September 23, 2010, Philip H. Hilder moderated a panel discussion "The Supreme Court Ruling on 'Honest Services' Fraud and Ramifications to the Business Community: Skilling vs. U.S. Examined". The Panel examined the Supreme Court's decision to limit prosecution for honest services fraud. The event was co-sponsored by the Federal Bar Association - Southern District of Texas Chapter, and the ABA Criminal Justice Section White Collar Crime Committee.


Special delivery for traffickers

By: Dane Schiller
Houston Chronicle

September 22, 2010

Houston drug traffickers want the U.S. government to do their dirty work.The nation's postal system and private mail services are regularly the unwitting couriers of illegal drugs delivered coast to coast and door to door, according to federal court records. Traffickers consider slipping drugs and cash from their sales into the mail as more efficient than using their own couriers, said attorney Philip Hilder, formerly a prosecutor in charge of the Houston office for the Department of Justice's Organized Crime Strike Force. "It is well known that it is a pretty easy, low-risk operation to either ship fairly small amounts of dope and/or money - illegal proceeds - through (the mail)," Hilder said.

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Yahoo6Cocales

Risk-reward equation was used in building oil well in Gulf of Mexico, BP worker testifies

photo: AP, Reuters

By: David Hilzenrath, Joel Achenbach
AP. Washington Post
August 27, 2010

Cocales said he was weighing engineering risks associated with alternative approaches, and he thought less risk was associated with the course BP took. At the time, he said, he thought the "worst-case scenario" was that BP would have to do remediation work on the well, not that safety would be jeopardized, he testified Friday.

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Philipathearing

Philip Hilder assists firm client Brett Cocales at Coast Guard and Interior Department hearing, August 27, 2010.

BPWSJ

photo: Bloomberg news

Philip Covers Mic, BP

Legal Tactics Emerging at Oil Hearings

photo:yahoo news, AP

By: Ben Casselman, Russle Gold
Wall Street Journal
August 29, 2010

HOUSTON-For five days last week, federal investigators grilled witnesses to answer key questions about the disastrous explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig: Why did it happen? How can we make sure it never happens again? But in their questions to witnesses, lawyers for the companies under scrutiny, focused on testimony that might answer another question: Who will pay?

Attorney Philip Hilder assists firm client Brett Cocales during his testimony to the Coast Guard and Interior Department

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Yahoo4BP

BP engineer defends decision on cement job

photo: yahoo news, Reuters

By: Tom Fowler and Brett Clayton
Houston Chronicle
April 27, 2010

A BP drilling engineer said Friday he doesn't believe a much scrutinized decision about the Macondo well's cement job posed a threat to the safety of the crew aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig. Under questioning by his lawyer, Philip Hilder, Cocales also countered an assertion during testimony earlier in the week by Halliburton cementer Jesse Gagliano, who said he recommended 21 centralizers. Cocales said that figure was used in a computer model of cementing plans because there were already six centralizers on the rig and BP could only get another 15 out to the rig in short order. Hilder also asked Cocales about a comment he made in one of his e-mails about the "risk/reward" balance. "It is a term that refers to economics?" Hilder asked. No, Cocales said. "It's a term I've used for years, saying what are the pros and cons of a decision."

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Philip Hilder talks to abc13 news about Clemens arraignment

August 29, 2010/abc13 news

Hilder on Clemens

Officials at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., say that seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens will be arraigned on Monday afternoon on criminal charges.The former pitcher will appear before U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton for allegedly lying to Congress about his use of steroids. Philip Hilder talks to abc13 news about the case.

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Clemens faces feds' favorite tactic

By: David Barron
Houston Chronicle
August 19, 2010

In the wake of an indictment for perjury Thursday, Roger Clemens must defend himself against a statute that one prominent defense attorney says prosecutors are employing in the same fashion that they once used tax evasion, the crime that put Al Capone behind bars in the 1930s. Clemens is almost certain to testify, according to Houston attorney Philip Hilder."It will come down to his credibility," Hilder said.

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U.S. Supreme Court sides with Enron ex-CEO Jeff Skilling

740 KTRH Radio/Fox June 25, 2010

Philip Hilder was asked to appear on News Radio to provide legal commentary regarding the U.S. Supreme Courts decision regarding ex-Enron CEO Skilling


Philip Hilder speaks to ABC13 High court sides with ex-Enron CEO Skilling

June 24, 2010

abc13skilling

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Thursday sharply curtailed prosecutors' use of an anti-fraud law that was central in convicting politicians and corporate executives in many of the nation's most prominent corruption cases. The ex-CEO of disgraced energy giant Enron and a Canadian media mogul, both in prison, are among the figures who could benefit from the ruling.

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Philip Hilder speaks to FOX26 News: Supreme Court Reduces Enron

CEO's Sentence

June 24, 2010

Skilling FOX 26

Ford Atkinson

HOUSTON - The U.S. Supreme Court handed Enron CEO Jeff Skilling a legal victory Thursday.Ruling prosecutors erred when they used the "honest services" law to help convict him.The high court, however, did not overturn Skilling's conviction for his role in the Enron scandal because prosecutors used additional laws to win the conviction

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James Rytting speaks to Fox26 News regarding an appellate case

May 20, 2010

James Rytting speaks to Fox26 News regarding an appellate case


Fort Bend County killer may be executed tonight

By: Allan Turner
Houston Chronicle
April 27, 2010

In rejecting Bustamante's 11th hour appeal, the state court asserted that he had failed to adequately establish that he is mentally retarded. James Rytting, one of Bustamante's attorneys said he will seek the Supreme Courts intervention on Bustamante's behalf but acknowledged that the best shot at saving his client had been instate court.

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Inmate 'who liked to kill' set for execution Tuesday

By Allan Turner
Houston Chronicle April 26, 2010

This morning the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected an appeal based on the assertion that Bustamante is mildly mentally retarded. The killer's attorney Philip Hilder argued that his client has an overall IQ of 71 and should be spared death under the U.S. Supreme Court's 2002 ruling in Atkins vs. Virginia. In that landmark decision the high court held that executing mentally retarded killers violates the Eighth Amendment's ban against cruel and unusual punishment.
Seeks delay from court. A second attorney for Bustamante, James Rytting, said they'll now ask U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. A petition to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles also has been filed, he said. Hilder argued that Bustamante's abusive childhood might have been a factor in his retardation, and offered comments from the killer's former common-law wife that he had been childlike and unable to care for himself. When sad or angered, the woman told a Baylor College of Medicine clinical neuropsychologist, Bustamante would roll into a fetal position and cry. In a terse dismissal of Bustamante's appeal, the state appeals court noted that the lawyers failed to adequately establish mental retardation. "It looks as if the state of Texas is going to execute a mentally retarded man," Rytting.

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Casino Jack and the United States of Money

Released May 7, 2010.

The documentary of Washington super lobbyist Jack Abramoff is the story of political corruption, and of the most far-reaching Congressional political scandal in decades. Hilder & Associates, P.C. represented Tom Rodgers, the whistleblower that shed the spotlight on Mr. Abramoff. Mr. Rodgers is featured prominently in the documentary. Casino Jack is directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney.

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Former MHMRA Psychologist Leddy Convicted of Fraud

By Paul Knight
April 24, 2010 HairBalls Blog

A former psychologist with the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County, who evaluated defendants in close to 1,000 criminal cases during his time with the agency, recently pled guilty to Medicaid fraud. Matthew Leddy, the psychologist, received a 30-day jail sentence and was required to pay $228,747.81 in restitution to the state, according to a representative with the Attorney General's office, the agency that prosecuted Leddy. He was also sentenced to 340 hours of community service and had to pay another $10,000 in fines. "I think it was a favorable resolution for all parties," Philip Hilder, (Hilder and Associates, P.C.) Leddy's attorney, tells Hair Balls. "[Leddy] has made restitution and would like to just move on with his life."

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CNBC Airs Smartest Guys in the Room

April 1, 2010

ENRON: The Smartest Guys in the Room is the inside story of one of America's greatest business scandals, in which top executives of the country's seventh largest company walked away with more than $1 billion while investors and employees lost everything. The story begins in 1985 when Enron was formed through the merger of Houston Natural Gas and InterNorth, the Omaha, Neb. natural gas company. By 2000, the company had grown into the largest natural gas merchant in North America, eventually branching out into trading other commodities, including water, coal and steel. Meanwhile, Jeff Skilling is named CEO, and the company stock skyrockets.

But when Enron's sleight of hand accounting and unethical trading eventually meet the realities of balance sheets that don't balance and products that don't exist, unwitting employees whose financial futures are anchored to the Enron ship watch in horror as it quickly sinks. Philip H. Hilder, attorney for Enron whistle blower Sharron Watkins, is featured in the film about his client and their experiences.

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Texas killer gets a pass on death row

By PEGGY O'HARE
Published: Houston Chronicle

A federal district court ruled this week that a Houston man on Texas death row for 20 years for killing his boss during a robbery was not mentally competent to stand trial back in 1990 and ordered his release within 180 days unless the Harris County District Attorney's Office plans to retry him. Lawyers for Aldridge, also known as Salim El-Anwar Shabazz, called the ruling an< "extraordinary development" that is "highly unusual." "It really is amazing after being on death row for 20 years to finally have a court listen and evaluate what should have been considered initially," Aldridge's appellate attorney, Philip Hilder, said Friday. "The heart of the ruling is that Mr. Aldridge was never competent to stand trial."

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The Second Annual National Institute on Internal Corporate Investigations and Forum for In-House Counsel

The Second Annual National Institute on Internal Corporate Investigations and Forum for In-House Counsel May 5-7, 2010, St. Regis Hotel, Washington, D.C.

Philip H. Hilder moderated the Panel "Proactive vs. Reactive Compliance Programs".


Rulford Garfield Aldridge

On March 17, 2010, death row client, Rulford Garfield Aldridge, had his conviction overturned by the Federal Court because of his initial incompetency to stand trial due to mental illness. The Court granted the Firm's Writ of Habeas Corpus petition and ordered Mr. Aldridge released from custody unless the State of Texas instituted new criminal proceedings. Mr. Aldridge has been on death row for 20 years. Mr. Aldridge, one of the longest serving death row inmates, was sentenced to death in 1990 for capital murder. No prior court had fully explored Mr. Aldridge's mental state and competence to stand trial. Firm attorney James Rytting was able to establish that Mr. Aldridge was never competent to stand trial. Click here to see Memorandum Opinion and Order and Final Judgment.

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Federal Bar Association Conference

Federal Bar Association ConferencePhilip Hilder was asked to participate in a panel discussion on Healthcare Fraud at the Federal Law Conference 2010, presented by the Hidalgo County Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association, Southern District of Texas, April 8 & 9, 2010, McAllen, Texas.


Enron ex-CEO Jeff Skilling's appeal before U.S. Supreme Court

740 KTRH Radio/Fox March 1, 2010

Philip Hilder was asked to appear on News Radio to provide legal commentary regarding Enron's ex-CEO Jeff Skilling's appeal that was heard before the U.S. Supreme Court.


Murdoch's Losses on Supermarket Coupons Near "Avatar" Earnings

By Linda Sandler, Sarah Rabil and Bob Van Voris
Published: BusinessWeek March 3, 2010

Rupert Murdoch, who may have spent the equivalent of the projected earnings of News Corp.'s hit movie "Avatar" to settle lawsuits against his supermarket-coupon unit, risks losing millions more at a trial over alleged anti-competitive behavior by the same business. Hilder and Associates' client, Robert Emmel, in a taped deposition played at the Valassis trial, stated that News Corp. allegedly offered Eckerd Corp. $4.5 million in guaranteed income over three years to join its "Price Pop" program. Emmel has aided News Corp. competitors with his testimony. Philip Hilder, a lawyer for Emmel, declined to comment.

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Interim U.S. attorney for Houston named

By: Mary Flood
Published: February 10, 2010 Houston Chronicle

Interim U.S. Attorney for the Houston Region named. Houston Chronicle February 10, 2010. Angel Moreno, a Laredo based assistant U.S. Attorney, has been named the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas. Philip Hilder, a former Federal prosecutor in Houston, said he went to trial against Moreno in Brownsville on the case of Juan Garza, who was later executed by the Federal government. "Moreno is an excellent selection. He is smart and methodical and will be a good people manager," Hilder said.

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Former Willbros executives get prison in bribery case

By: MARY FLOOD
Published: January 29, 2010 Houston Chronicle.

Ex-Willbros Executives Get Prison for Bribery. Nigerian officials were paid six (6) million dollars to win pipeline contract. Page 1, Business Section. U.S. District Judge Sim Lake sentenced client Jim Bob Brown to a year and a day in prison for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act. Firm attorney, Philip H. Hilder, was co-counsel.

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Breaking Jack Abramoff

By Jerry Reynolds
Published: January 29, 2010

Indian Country Today ran a story on discredited Washington lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, being exposed by whistleblower Tom Rodgers. Rodgers' attorney, Philip H. Hilder in Houston, noted that even the DOJ had been polarized during the Abramoff years, though he withheld judgment as to whether politics had any bearing on the DOJ's Abramoff investigations. More will be known when the Department finishes its investigation; Hilder said Rodgers hired Hilder because he would need a guide through the legal and political minefield that might lie in wait. Hilder represented Sherron Watkins, the whistleblower in the Enron bankruptcy and corporate corruption case.

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The man who blew the whistle on Jack Abramoff tells the story of how he did it

By: Susan Crabtree
Published: January 26, 2010 The Hill

Cover story of The Hill profiles "The Man Who Blew the Whistle on Jack Abramoff Tells the Story on How He Did It." Tom Rodgers was instrumental in shining the light on one of Washington's biggest scandals. Rodgers decided to hire a respected lawyer. Houston attorney Philip Hilder had represented Sherron Watkins, the whistleblower in the Enron case. Hilder cautioned Rodgers to lay low - or face the consequences. "I judge him to be quite credible, but I also know the realities of Washington - that if he would have reared his head, it would have been decapitated," Hilder says.

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Documentaries generate buzz at Sundance

By: By RICK WARNER
Published :January 23, 2010

Sundance Film Festival. A client of Hilder & Associates, P.C., is featured in a documentary appearing at the Sundance Film Festival. The documentary, Casino Jack and The United States of Money, is a portrait of Washington super lobbyist, Jack Abramoff. The client, Tom Rodgers, was the whistleblower who exposed Abramoff resulting in one of the largest Congressional scandals in history. Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney is the director and screenwriter. The film will be released for general circulation in May.

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U.S. attorney jobs filled at a slow pace

By Mary Flood
Published: Jan. 10, 2010, 11:40AM

U.S. Attorney Jobs Filled at Slow Pace. Houston Chronicle, February 10, 2010. "The U.S. Attorney isn't just a figure head, he or she is a decision-maker. The business of law enforcement isn't reaching its full potential here without a Presidentially appointed U.S. Attorney," said Philip Hilder, a defense attorney, former Federal prosecutor and Democrat activist.

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A Quiet Hell

By: Chris Vogel
Published December 17, 2009 Houston Press

Houston Press cover story week of December 17, 2009, special report: A Quite Hell. The report cites to lax enforcement by Texas authorities allowing plants along the Houston ship channel to launch tons of toxic gases into the air and face little penalty, even when they exceed pollution limits on a continuous basis. The law firm of Hilder & Associates, P.C. is one of the plaintiffs' counsel that filed a citizen's suit against Chevron Phillips Chemical under the Clean Air Act to hold the company accountable for pollution that they cause.

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Imperial Sugar won't discuss its year-long probe of 2008 Port Wentworth refinery disaster

Published: November 11, 2009 Savanna Morning News

In October 2008, Imperial Sugar Co.'s board of directors assigned a committee to investigate last year's deadly inferno at its local plant. More than a year later, Imperial won't say whether the committee has filed a report, reached any conclusions - or even met.

The panel was told to look into the Feb. 7, 2008, explosions and fire that killed 14 people and injured many more at Imperial's Port Wentworth refinery. Philip Hilder, a lawyer for several present or former company officials, said any conclusions the panel reaches are "essentially irrelevant." He noted that investigations by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board have concluded. Both agencies blamed Imperial for the disaster.

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Former Sheriff Gets More Time at Home

KRGV October 28, 2009

Starr County's former sheriff will get more time locked down at home, rather than in a prison cell.
Reymundo Guerra's lawyer, Philip Hilder, tells us Guerra was expected to begin his prison sentence today. The ex-sheriff was sentenced to more than

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Former Imperial exec says Imperial quit shutting down local plant for annual upkeep

Published: October 26, 2009 Savanna Morning News

Imperial Sugar Co. quit shutting down its local plant for annual upkeep because it cost too
much, a former Imperial executive says. Graham Graham testified this summer in connection with a federal investigation of the deadly Feb. 7, 2008, inferno at Imperial's Port Wentworth refinery. Maintenance and housekeeping are key issues in legal battles stemming from the disaster, which killed 14 people and hurt many more. Since July 2008, Graham has leveled many accusations against Imperial, which in turn has waged a campaign aimed at discrediting him. Graham said he didn't know when the practice was discontinued, but believed it was "a number of years" before he joined Imperial in late 2007. His attorney, Philip Hilder, said last week the most recent extended shutdown probably was "three or four years" earlier.

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Fourth Annual National Institute on Securities Fraud

October 15-16, 2009 Ritz Carlton Washington, D.C.

Philip Hilder co chaired the Fourth National Annual Institute on Securities Fraud held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C. On October 15th, Philip Hider moderated the opening session of the second day of the National Institute on Securities Fraud pertaining to the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA). Among the panelist was Mark Mendelsohn, Deputy Chief of US DOJ Fraud Section-Criminal Division, and Rose Romero, SEC Texas Regional Director.

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ABC 13 Interview: Jeff Skilling's Appeal to be heard by Supreme Court

ABC 13 Interview: Jeff Skilling's Appeal to be heard by Supreme Court Philip Hilder was asked to provide analysis regarding the Supreme Courts decision to hear argument on former Enron Chief Executive Officer Jeff Skilling's appeal. Mr. Hilder represented the Enron whistleblower, Sherron Watkins, in the legal proceedings relating to the Enron collapse

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Enron Interview

KTRH Radio Houston October 9, 2009

KTRH Radio Houston interviewed Philip H. Hilder for his analysis to the news that former Enron employees may receive disbursements of $23 million retrieved from executive bonuses distributed shortly before the Enron collapse. KTRH carried the interview live on its morning news show. Mr. Hilder represented Sherron Watkins, the Enron whistleblower, during the collapse.


Autopsy errors one more troubling trend

Published: October 6, 2009, Houston Chronicle

This Houston Chronicle spotlights cases that are problematic in the criminal justice system, particularly the Larry Swearingen case. Mr. Swearingen, represented by Hilder & Associates, P.C., is seeking relive from the death row for a murder conviction based in part on the erroneous testimony of the former Harris County Medical Examiner.

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Deadline for ex-sheriff's prison term pushed back

Published: September 28, 2009 The Monitor

Former Starr County Sheriff Reymundo Guerra will have one more month before he must turn himself in to start his prison term. The ex-lawman was supposed to surrender to authorities Monday. But a U.S. district court judge postponed the date because the federal Bureau of Prisons has still not designated the facility where Guerra will serve out his sentence, his attorney Phillip Hilder said. Because he was a law enforcement official, special considerations must be made when deciding where to place him, Hilder said. Putting him in the general population of a prison with violent criminal offenders could make him a target for attacks and endanger his safety. "That's just one of many factors the bureau has to take into account," he said.

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Man condemned for drug dealer's slaying set to die

Published: September 16, 2009 AP/ Star Telegram

Convicted killer Stephen Moody was headed to the Texas death chamber Wednesday evening for a lethal injection for the shooting death of a Houston man during a robbery 18 years ago. Moody, 52, asked that no last-minute appeals be filed to try to block his execution, the 17th this year in the nation's busiest death penalty state. "We have to kind of sit on our hands," Moody's lawyer, Philip Hilder, said. "We wouldn't be normally doing that, but it is his wishes."

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Standford to be represented by public defense

Published: September 15, 2009 ABC 13

Standford to be represented by public defenseFormer federal prosecutor Philip Hilder says. "The problem comes in that the public defender's office won't have the proper resources in which to adequately defend a case like this," said Hilder.


Man condemned for drug dealer's slaying set to die

Published: September 15, 2009 AP, Houston Chronicle

After more than 15 years on Texas death row, Stephen Moody has had
enough. He's ready to die. "I understand the consequence of my crime," Moody, 52, said recently from a tiny visiting cage outside death row. "I made the decision to put myself here ... I don't blame my situation on anybody but myself." "It is his wishes and we have to honor them," his
lawyer, Philip Hilder, said.

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Fourth Annual National Institute on Securities Fraud

October 15-16, 2009 Ritz Carlton Washington, D.C.

The end of 2008 and beginning of 2009 saw the financial markets collapse and administration change hands. Ponzi schemes are back, the FCPA is still hot, good old fashioned financial fraud seems unending, and the drumbeat for more prosecutions, stricter enforcement and stiffer penalties has never been louder. In response, the new teams at DOJ and SEC are already demonstrating renewed vigor and gearing up for aggressive enforcement in an effort to restore investor confidence. Gain valuable insights from the very best in the profession: judges, prosecutors, regulators, academics, compliance officers, and defense counsel, including Philip H. Hilder. Find out about what to expect next and how to prepare for these new developments in the ever present, headline-making area of securities fraud. The Fourth Annual National Institute on Securities Fraud will provide an in-depth, cutting-edge, and rewarding educational experience for all practitioners. Mr. Hilder is a member of the planning committee as well as a participant for this event.

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Attorneys: Imperial Sugar Fired Key Witness

Published: September 11, 2009 Savanna Morning News

Imperial Sugar Co. fired a key witness shortly before she was due to testify about last year's deadly disaster at its local plant, two lawyers say. The issue surfaced Thursday in Chatham Plaintiffs attorney Brent Savage said Imperial axed deputy counsel Courtney McCaslin in May because she wouldn't fire her lawyer, Philip Hilder. Hilder said McCaslin told him she was ousted because she refused to fire Hilder. She was given a letter that stated that reason for her dismissal, Hilder said, adding that he was "not at liberty" to release it.

"They didn't want her to have independent counsel," he said. Hilder said McCaslin - involved in safety issues at Imperial - hired him last summer. "She said she wanted counsel not from the company," Hilder said. Hilder specializes in whistle-blower cases. He represents former Imperial executive Graham Graham, who testified against the company last summer in a U.S. Senate hearing. Graham also is a witness in the lawsuits and in an action against the company by the U.S.

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Stanford executive pleads guilty to charges associated with alleged fraud

Published: August 28, 2009 Irish Times

James Davis, the second-highest ranking executive at the Stanford Financial Group, yesterday
pleaded guilty to charges connected with alleged $7 billion (€4.9 billion) fraud at the group.
Mr Davis (60), who made the plea in a co-operation agreement with authorities, was subdued as he pleaded "guilty, your honor" to three felony counts, including fraud and obstruction. He agreed to forfeit $1 billion. The charges against him carry a maximum prison term of 30 years.

Philip Hilder, who represented Enron whistleblower Sherron Watkins, said the authorities were "hanging a carrot" over Mr. Davis, implying "the more he co-operates, the more time he will get off'". Mr. Davis will not be sentenced until the case against Sir Allen has been tried, according to Mr. Hilder, so the authorities can judge how well he co-operated. Sir Allen has pleaded not guilty to all the allegations against

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Interview with Philip Hilder on sentencing of Rey Guerra

Published: August 28, 2009 Action 4 News

Interview with Philip Hilder on sentencing of Rey GuerraGuerra walked out of the Federal Courthouse in McAllen after being sentenced to five years and four months in prison. Philip H. Hilder, Guerra's defense attorney, says Guerra accepted his responsibility and accepted the fact that he crossed the line and he is prepared to pay the price for that. "I think things went extremely well," Hilder told Action 4 News. "The sheriff is satisfied with the sentence given by the court and I'm satisfied as well that justice has been done. "The sentence comes after the 52-year old lawman pleaded guilty back in May to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.

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Texas drug ring members sentenced to prison include sheriff, teacher

Published: August 28, 2009 The Associated Press

A former South Texas sheriff, represented by Philip Hilder, and a Houston elementary school teacher were among 11 people sentenced to prison Thursday for their role in a conspiracy that moved marijuana and cocaine from Mexico, through Houston and as far as Delaware.

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Ex-sheriff handed 5 years in prison

Published: August 28, 2009 Express News

Former Starr County Sheriff Reymundo Guerra was sentenced Thursday to five years and four months in federal prison for helping Gulf Cartel operatives move marijuana and cocaine through his remote border county. "The sheriff was satisfied with the sentence," said defense attorney Philip Hilder. "As the judge said, even though he was high-profile, he had a minor role."

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Ex-sheriff sentenced to five years for role in drug smuggling plot

Published: August 27, 2009 The Monitor

Reymundo "Rey" Guerra, represented by Philip Hilder, pleaded guilty to one count of drug trafficking conspiracy in May. The 52-year-old lawman - who resigned his post after his arrest - admitted to leaking sensitive law enforcement intelligence and bungling his own department's investigations in exchange for cash payments from one of Miguel Alemán's top narcotics smugglers. Guerra's 64-month sentence falls below the eight to 10 years recommended under federal sentencing guidelines, but Crane justified the departure by noting the minor role the sheriff played in the overall drug trafficking network and his willingness to aid federal investigators after his arrest.

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Filling the gap: When the state won't take on a dirty job

Published: August 23, 2009 Houston Chronicle

The Houston Chronicle published this favorable opinion piece concerning Hilder & Associates clients, the Sierra Club and Environment Texas. These clients filed suit against Chevron Phillips Chemical to reduce emissions of air toxics at its Cedar Bayou chemical plant in Baytown. In court filings, the groups claim that since 2003 the plant has illegally released more than a million pounds of toxic, carcinogenic chemicals, including benzene and 1,3-butadiene. Most of the releases occurred during so-called "upsets," which occur during startups, shutdowns, and other non-routine activities.

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Groups Sue to Reduce Admissions

Published: August 20, 2009 Houston Chronicle

On behalf of our clients, The Sierra Club and Environmental Texas, Hilder & Associates, P.C., along with the Environmental Defense Law Center, filed suit against Chevron Phillips alleging illegal pollution from "upset" events at its Cedar Bayou chemical plant in Baytown, Texas.

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Environmental Groups Sue Chevron Phillips Over Texas Plant

Published: August 19, 2009 CNN Money

Environmental Groups Sue Chevron Phillips Over Texas PlantEnvironmental groups filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC alleging that its Cedar Bayou chemical plant near Houston has repeatedly violated the Clean Air Act. The Sierra Club and Environment Texas claimed the Baytown, Texas, plant has released more than a million pounds of excess air pollutants since 2003. The two sides plan to meet to discuss a settlement, said Philip Hilder, one of the attorneys representing the environmentalists. However, there is no guarantee that an agreement will be reached, Hilder said.

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Psychologist's Fraud Arrest May Affect Trials He Testified In

Published: July, 14 2009 Hair Balls Blog

Matthew Leddy, a local psychologist, was arrested late last month for theft and Medicaid fraud, accused of billing for work that he didn't perform, according to articles in the Houston
Chronicle and the Conroe Courier. The articles don't mention, however, that Leddy was working for the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County and testified in criminal trials. "We maintain that he's innocent of the charges, and we intend to prove that, "Hilder tells Hair Balls. "We think that the government's charges are reckless."

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Feds strike at Medicare fraud in Houston Area

Published: July 12, 2009 Houston Chronicle

A Woodlands psychologist, Dr. Matthew Hamilton Leddy, turned himself into Montgomery County authorities the same day, accused of falsely billing for services for 67 patients that were never performed. Leddy, was released on $110,000 bond. His attorney, Philip Hilder of Houston, calls the Medicare fraud charges "outrageous," saying investigators are relying on statements from individuals with psychological problems.

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US hard line over risk of flight keeps Stanford hands tied

Published: July 11, 2008 Financial Times FT.com UK

Sir Allen Stanford, who is accused of operating a $7bn Ponzi scheme, has spent the past three weeks handcuffed, shackled and confined to a cell at a detention centre 48 miles north of Houston, Texas. While awaiting trial on charges ranging from securities fraud to bribery, Sir Allen, sporting a bright orange suit, has only been allowed to speak to visitors - including his attorneys - through a protective glass barrier, under the watchful eyes of prison wardens. The court could yet determine conditions that would permit Sir Allen's release, other lawyers said, including restricting his movements to one county and forcing him to wear an electronic monitoring device. But Philip Hilder, who represented Enron whistleblower Sherron Watkins, said: "Unfortunately for him, it's a very high-profile case, and the government has taken a hardline stance.''

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Reports: Little or no exit training for Sugar Workers

Published: July 10, 2000 Trading Markets.com

Imperial Sugar Co. failed to show many workers at its local plant how to escape during a fire prior to a 2008 tragedy that killed 14 people and injured many more, federal interview reports indicate. At least 20 of the dead and injured in the Feb. 8 incident suffered severe burns. Information on the lack of escape-route training came during interviews with workers conducted by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration after the explosions and fire at the Port Wentworth refinery. Graham Graham has testified that there was no evacuation plan or working fire alarm at Port Wentworth or at Gramercy when the local refinery blew up. Graham, a former Imperial vice president, is a key witness in lawsuits against the company and the OSHA case. His attorney, Philip Hilder, said Graham has no additional comment.

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Psychologist Facing Medicaid Fraud

Published: July 1, 2009 Conroe Courier

A Woodlands psychologist is facing felony charges for Medicaid fraud and aggregate theft, but his attorney calls the allegations "outrageous."

Dr. Matthew Hamilton Leddy, 51, allegedly defrauded Medicaid by billing for unperformed services for more than 60 patients, according to his indictments handed down by a Montgomery County grand jury June 18.The names listed in the indictment are all patients of Leddy, who practices in the Houston metropolitan area, said Phillip Hilder, Leddy's attorney. Hilder denies the allegations by Medicaid and insists on Leddy's innocence.

"The allegations are reckless and irresponsible, and we intend to vigorously fight these outrageous claims," Hilder said.

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More Indictments in Stanford Case: ABC interview with Philip Hilder

ABC Aired June 19, 2009

HOUSTON -- Brash Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford was indicted and jailed Friday on charges his international banking empire was really just a Ponzi scheme built on lies, bluster and bribery. The Justice Department announced charges against Stanford and six others who allegedly helped the tycoon run a $7 billion swindle. At a court hearing in Richmond, Va., a federal judge agreed with prosecutors that Stanford poses a flight risk and ordered him to remain in custody until a future detention hearing in Houston. ABC 13 News interviews attorney Philip Hilder for his expert opinion on the case.

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Philip Hilder is named a Top Lawyer for the Houston Area

June 2009

H Magazine has, once again, featured Philip H. Hilder in it Houston Area Top Attorneys issue. This is the seventh year in a row that Mr. Hilder has been recognized as a Houston Area Top Attorney.


Philip Hilder is named a Texas Super Lawyer

May 2009

Based on a statewide selection process, review of his credentials, and the evaluation of his peers, Philip Hilder has been selected as a 2009 Texas Super Lawyer. This is the eighth year in a Mr. Hilder has been recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer.


National Institute on Internal Corporate Investigators and In-House Counsel

May 6-8, 2009 Ritz Carlton Washington, DC

Philip Hilder gave a speech concerning whistleblowers and subtle retribution following Key Note speaker US Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.

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Who gets tough against companies polluting in Texas? Hint: It's not the state

Published: May 4, 2009 Houston Chronicle

Houston Chronicle Editorial supporting action taken on behalf of our clients Sierra Club and Environmental Texas to reduce emissions at a Shell Oil Co. refinery. Hilder & Associates, P.C. assisted in securing a $6 Million penalty against Shell for violation of the Clean Air Act.

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Former Starr sheriff plead guilty

Published: May 1, 2009 The Monitor

Former Starr County Sheriff Reymundo "Rey" Guerra pleaded guilty Friday to one count of drug smuggling conspiracy, a week before his case was set to head to trial. "He feels that he's let down his family, friends and constituents." Guerra's attorney Philip Hilder said Friday. "He's deeply remorseful for that."

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Shell agrees to settle TX refinery pollution suit

Published: April 23, 2009 Reuters

"Shell began talks with the (Sierra Club and Texas Environmental Group) as soon as it heard that the lawsuit would be filed in January 2008," said Houston attorney, Philip Hilder. " To Shells credit, they stepped up to the plate and immediately and took responsibility for it", Hilder said.

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Attorneys: Whistleblower faked explosion warning

Published: April 20, 2009 AP BusinessWeek

Graham, who lives in Houston, referred questions to his attorney Philip Hilder, who called the accusation "a maneuver by Imperial Sugar to continuously smear Graham Harris Graham."

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On the borderline of good and bad

Published: April 3, 2009 Los Angeles Times

Guerra's attorney, Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor and one-time area coordinator of the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, contends that the sheriff believed Hinojosa was working for "legitimate Mexican law enforcement."

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HMC Analyst Questions Dismissal

Published: March 31, 2009 The Harvard Crimson

Ultimately it was Philip Hilder-the lawyer who had represented the Enron whistleblower Sherron Watkins in Congressional Hearings following the company's collapse-who secured the settlement from Harvard.

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Long search looms in fraud claims

Published: March 30, 2009 Financial Times/The Peninsula

"If parties want to obscure the money trail, they can make it quite difficult," said Philip Hilder who's firm, Hilder & Associates, represented Sherron Watkins, the Enron whistleblower.

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Retrial for man in wife's slaying starts Monday

Published: March 28, 2009 Houston Chronicle

"A reasonable jury could very well acquit Mr. Fratta of capital murder," said James Rytting, who represented Fratta on appeal

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Stanford 'Is Not Madoff'

Published: March 26, 2009 BusinessWeek

The aggressive tack being taken by DeGuerin, attorney to Allen Stanford, is not uncharacteristic. Houston attorney Philip Hilder, former federal prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer, says : "Dick is very aggressive and thorough, and he will make the government work."

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Stanford executive claims "improper" raid

Published: March 11, 2009 Financial Times

Lawyers are debating whether the authorities will soon bring any further Stanford-related charges. "I fully anticipate you will be seeing indictments for fraud shortly," said Philip Hilder of Hilder & Associates, P.C.

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The Stanford Group

Aired February 19, 2009 ABC Eyewitness News

Fundamentally, banks and brokers must tell you the truth. But Stanford allegedly hasn't cooperated with investigators. "You should be able to trust what your banker tells you," said Philip Hilder, Houston attorney. "The SEC, in this case, says that in investing public was misled."

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Commentary: Verdict is still out on innocence as defense

Published: February 2, 2009 Houston Chronicle

"It's a breath of fresh air coming out of the AG's office, a fabulous development," says James Rytting , who represents Swearingen. Rytting said the AG's new stance could help his client who got a stay of execution from Federal Appeals Court last week based on newfound forensic evidence

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Texas Death row inmate Larry Swearingen gets 11th-hour reprieve

Published January 26, 2009 The Dallas Morning News

Several criminal pathologists say the prosecutors' original theory-is impossible. "I am extremely relived," said Swearingen's attorney, James Rytting. "It would be a travesty to execute someone under those circumstances."

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Commentary: Innocent plea needs court hearing

Published: January 26, 2009 Houston Chronicle

Swearingen's attorney, James Rytting, had presented evidence from several forensic scientists and physicians, including the former Harris County medical examiner whose original testimony helped convict him.

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Time is running out for inmate

Published: January 21, 2009 Houston Chronicle

In the waning days before Tuesday's scheduled execution, Swearingen's attorney, James Rytting, is working on a new appeal based on even more forensic evidence that he says proves his client is innocent.

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Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference

August 11-15, 2008 Marriot Hotel, Chicago Illinois

Mr. Philip H. Hilder appeared on a panel before a conference of Federal Judges and Practitioners regarding White Collar Crime 101 for the Civil Practitioner.


Panelist: CLE: White Collar Practice for the Business Lawyer and In-house Counsel

July 31-August 1, 2008 South Texas College of Law Houston, Texas

Mr. Philip H. Hilder was invited to be a panelist on the sub-prime markets and theories of liability.

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OSHA to fine Imperial Sugar $8.7M in deadly blast

Published: Jul 25, 2008 AP Online

Graham H. Graham, Imperial's Vice President for Operations, is on the witness list and will testify about "dangerous dust conditions that he witnessed" at the Georgia plant before the explosion, according to the lawmaker chairing the hearing. Graham's attorney, Philip Hilder, confirmed that he plans to testify before the Senate, but declined to give details.

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Philip Hilder and Mark Zachary of Countrywide on Larry King Live

Aired July 15, 2009

Philip Hilder and client Mark Zachary, former Regional V.P. Countrywide, appeared on Larry King Live to discuss so-called 'liar-loans" and other allegations against Countrywide.


Countrywide whistleblower reports "liar loans"

Aired Tuesday July 1, 2008 Nightly News with Brian Williams

Zachary's attorney, Philip Hilder, says his investigation shows the practices his client alleges were not necessarily confined to the Texas region, but may have been systemic. He dismisses Countrywide's claim that they have investigated Zachary's allegations.

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Panelist: The ABA Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime

March 5-7, 2008 Miamu Marriott Biscayne Bay Miami, Florida

Mr. Philip H. Hilder was a panelist on: Security Enforcement: Trends, Frenzies
and Crimes De Jour. The panel addressed developments and trends in criminal securities enforcement including stock options, enforcement investigations, and policies regarding securities enforcement.

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Support for the 'Lone Ranger'

Published September 26, 2007 Houston Chronicle

"The role of the whistle blower is critical because it keeps corporations and management in line and accountable to shareholders," said Philip Hilder who represented Menendez early in this case. "Whistle blowers are the first line of defense in discovering frauds. Management in corporations should embrace them."

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"The Collapse of Enron": A Famous Case as Told by Philip H. Hilder

Published: Texas Justice

Attorney Philip H. Hilder describes his role and experience with one of the most infamous cases in US History. The Enron collapse. As the attorney for Enron Whistleblower Sherron Watkins, Mr. Hilder gives his unique prospective on the congressional hearings, the media frenzy, and the way American business was changed forever.


Five Questions With Philip Hilder: Lawyer works as a guide through uncertain times.

Published: Moneymakers Section, Houston Chronicle

Corporate employees who know trouble's brewing, think they are innocent and don't trust the company lawyer, often hire their own criminal attorneys, and in Houston, it's often Philip Hilder.


Ex Gas Trade Wants Indictment Thrown Out

Published: February 14, 2006 RedOrbit

Jerry Futch, charged with four counts of reporting false natural gas trades to industry publications in November 2004, plead guilty to one count in June 2005. Over the weekend Futch attorney Philip Hilder, filed papers to dismiss the charge, saying his rights to due process and counsel were violated.

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A tale of two Enrons unfolds as trial opens

Published: February 2, 2006 International Herald Tribune

Lawyers watching on Tuesday said that the trial was set to be a pitched battle. "It is going to be extremely difficult for this jury to sit in judgment," said Philip Hilder, a trial attorney representing Sherron Watkins. "Both sides made very compelling cases," Hilder said. "You can tell it is going to be a real slugfest."

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Risk-reward equation was used in building oil well in Gulf of

Special delivery for traffickers

Documents filed with the court Monday suggest Eversole - who is facing four charges - may plead guilty to one count of making a false statement to FBI agents, said former federal prosecutor Philip Hilder. That charge carries up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Documents filed with the court Monday suggest Eversole - who is facing four charges - may plead guilty to one count of making a false statement to FBI agents, said former federal prosecutor Philip Hilder. That charge carries up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

A lack of sufficient prep time, excessive pre-trial publicity - and even Twitter - all contributed to an unfair guilty verdict against R. Allen Stanford, attorneys for the convicted con man claim in their request for a new trial filed this week.

"The Houston community was saturated with publicity prejudicial to Stanford," defense attorney Ali Fazel wrote in his 71-page request to U.S. District Judge David Hittner, the trial judge in the fraud case.

Stanford, who turns 62 on Saturday, was convicted March 6 on 13 of 14 counts that accused him of orchestrating a $7 billion investment fraud through his bank in the Caribbean nation of Antigua.

Sentencing is set for June 14, and Stanford could spend the rest of his life in prison.

The motion alleges that defense lawyers did not have adequate time to prepare for the trial after Stanford returned from nine months in a North Carolina prison hospital, where he was treated for addiction to medications prescribed when he was injured in a jailhouse fight.

A lack of sufficient prep time, excessive pre-trial publicity - and even Twitter - all contributed to an unfair guilty verdict against R. Allen Stanford, attorneys for the convicted con man claim in their request for a new trial filed this week.

"The Houston community was saturated with publicity prejudicial to Stanford," defense attorney Ali Fazel wrote in his 71-page request to U.S. District Judge David Hittner, the trial judge in the fraud case.

Stanford, who turns 62 on Saturday, was convicted March 6 on 13 of 14 counts that accused him of orchestrating a $7 billion investment fraud through his bank in the Caribbean nation of Antigua.

Sentencing is set for June 14, and Stanford could spend the rest of his life in prison.

The motion alleges that defense lawyers did not have adequate time to prepare for the trial after Stanford returned from nine months in a North Carolina prison hospital, where he was treated for addiction to medications prescribed when he was injured in a jailhouse fight.

A lack of sufficient prep time, excessive pre-trial publicity - and even Twitter - all contributed to an unfair guilty verdict against R. Allen Stanford, attorneys for the convicted con man claim in their request for a new trial filed this week.

"The Houston community was saturated with publicity prejudicial to Stanford," defense attorney Ali Fazel wrote in his 71-page request to U.S. District Judge David Hittner, the trial judge in the fraud case.

Stanford, who turns 62 on Saturday, was convicted March 6 on 13 of 14 counts that accused him of orchestrating a $7 billion investment fraud through his bank in the Caribbean nation of Antigua.

Sentencing is set for June 14, and Stanford could spend the rest of his life in prison.

The motion alleges that defense lawyers did not have adequate time to prepare for the trial after Stanford returned from nine months in a North Carolina prison hospital, where he was treated for addiction to medications prescribed when he was injured in a jailhouse fight.

A lack of sufficient prep time, excessive pre-trial publicity - and even Twitter - all contributed to an unfair guilty verdict against R. Allen Stanford, attorneys for the convicted con man claim in their request for a new trial filed this week.

"The Houston community was saturated with publicity prejudicial to Stanford," defense attorney Ali Fazel wrote in his 71-page request to U.S. District Judge David Hittner, the trial judge in the fraud case.

Stanford, who turns 62 on Saturday, was convicted March 6 on 13 of 14 counts that accused him of orchestrating a $7 billion investment fraud through his bank in the Caribbean nation of Antigua.

Sentencing is set for June 14, and Stanford could spend the rest of his life in prison.

The motion alleges that defense lawyers did not have adequate time to prepare for the trial after Stanford returned from nine months in a North Carolina prison hospital, where he was treated for addiction to medications prescribed when he was injured in a jailhouse fight.

A lack of sufficient prep time, excessive pre-trial publicity - and even Twitter - all contributed to an unfair guilty verdict against R. Allen Stanford, attorneys for the convicted con man claim in their request for a new trial filed this week.

"The Houston community was saturated with publicity prejudicial to Stanford," defense attorney Ali Fazel wrote in his 71-page request to U.S. District Judge David Hittner, the trial judge in the fraud case.

Stanford, who turns 62 on Saturday, was convicted March 6 on 13 of 14 counts that accused him of orchestrating a $7 billion investment fraud through his bank in the Caribbean nation of Antigua.

Sentencing is set for June 14, and Stanford could spend the rest of his life in prison.

The motion alleges that defense lawyers did not have adequate time to prepare for the trial after Stanford returned from nine months in a North Carolina prison hospital, where he was treated for addiction to medications prescribed when he was injured in a jailhouse fight.

Hilder & Associates, P.C. will vigorously defend client rights.

For consultation please
call 713-234-1416 or email: consult@hilderlaw.com
Hilder & Associates, P.C.
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