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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Long time attorney sentenced for theft

BEAUMONT - A Jefferson County Judge has sentenced an attorney to six months in state jail for stealing thousands of dollars from a former client.

Judge Layne walker sentenced 63 year old Alto V. Watson III.

Watson can no longer practice law. Today he gave up his law license as part of the penalty agreement for pleading guilty to one count of theft. 

The Judge put Watson on deferred adjudication for three other theft charges.

Watson can no longer practice law. Today he gave up his law license as part of the penalty agreement for pleading guilty to stealing thousands of dollars from a former client.

According to court documents, Watson stole less than $30,000 from January to June of 2012. 

Two attorneys represented Watson in Judge Walker's courtroom, Doug Barlow and Kevin Laine.

They're friends of his and agreed to help even though Watson said he didn't have the money to pay them.

His attorneys said Watson was desperate when he stole the money. Watson said he didn't have the money to pay his mortgage or car note.  He admits taking money intended for clients and using it to pay his bills.

"The consequences of his act that day are severe.  He is homeless, no car, no assets and he's going to have to seek family support to help him, said Kevin Laine.

As attorneys we have taken an oath.  We are glad that Mr. Watson has been held accountable as an attorney and as a defendant," said Ashley Chase.

Judge Walker is allowing Watson to remain free on bond for the next three months while he tries to pay back more than $29,000 he owes.

Watson must turn himself into authorities at the end of the three months so he can serve his time in state jail.

 

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