Dismissal of Texas Supreme Court Justice’s Indictment Raises Questions


Decision not Unusual in Insurance Cases, Says Arson Investigations Expert


Jan. 23, 2008 - AUSTIN, TX The controversial case involving Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina, a Harris County Grand Jury, and the Harris County District Attorney is raising a debate as to whether politics or a lack of evidence played a role in the dismissal of indictments against Judge Medina and his wife.

An expert arson investigator observes that the case highlights a situation that is not as unusual as some might expect: prosecutors declining to present what appears to be well-investigated arson or other insurance fraud related cases.

The decision could be based on a variety of circumstances, said Jim Whitaker, CFE, an adjunct faculty member who provides anti-fraud training for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). The ACFE is the premier provider of year-round training and education for anti-fraud professionals in more than 125 locations around the world.

Whitaker, who also formerly served as the Executive Director of the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAA), said that one scenario in a possible insurance fraud case might be a lack of evidence. “It is possible the elements needed to satisfy the statute for prosecution just aren’t there,” Whitaker said. “In that case, the prosecutor may want to wait until more evidence is uncovered before proceeding.”

Another possibility, said Whitaker, is that the name and stature of the defendant is influencing the case. “A prosecutor may simply decline to move forward on an insurance fraud case because of who the defendant is, either because of a lack of confidence in his/her ability to prosecute an arson/insurance fraud case, or because of some bias toward the defendant,” Whitaker said.

He added that such cases don’t often just go away after such a decision. The insurance carrier will conduct an investigation and take action if they feel it is warranted, regardless of what law enforcement does.

“The accused may still face a denial from the insurance carrier, and then it would most likely end up in civil court for disposition,” Whitaker said.

Jim Whitaker, CFE is available to the media for further comment on this developing story. Please contact Scott Patterson at (512) 478-9000, ext. 156, or email spatterson@acfe.com, to arrange an interview.

About the ACFE
With nearly 45,000 members in over 125 countries, the ACFE is the world’s premier anti-fraud association, providing knowledge and training used to reduce the occurrence of corporate fraud. Founded in 1988 by Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, the ACFE has been identified as “the premier financial sleuthing organization” by The Wall Street Journal. The ACFE has been cited for its efforts against fraud by media such as U.S. News & World Report, The New York Times, CNN. CNBC, Fortune, ABC-TV’s Nightline and 20/20, and CBS News’ 60 Minutes.

For more information about the ACFE, visit www.ACFE.com.

Contact the ACFE
For more information, email PR@ACFE.com.