‘DWI Dude’ attorney sentenced for scamming drug traffickers

SHERMAN, Texas (AP) — A Texas lawyer known as the “DWI Dude” has been sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison for falsely promising Colombian drug traffickers he'd get their charges reduced or dismissed in exchange for cash, prosecutors said.

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

According to federal prosecutors, Balagia conspired with a private investigator in Florida and an attorney in Colombia to scam Colombian drug traffickers into paying “attorney fees” for acting as intermediaries with government officials who they said would accept bribes to dismiss criminal charges or reduce prison sentences.

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