Local attorney accused of theft of his client

August 24, 2010 5:24:24 PM PDT
A local woman says she was trying to pay back money she stole from her boss, but wait until you hear what happened after she gave that money to her attorney. A Houston attorney is finding himself on the wrong side of the law after he allegedly spent money that was supposed to be given to a crime victim.

The victim's name is Blake Tartt, a well-known Realtor. Not only did he successfully pursue charges against an employee who worked for him for six years, now he finds himself at odds with the attorney who represented that woman.

When a judge ordered Christina Troung to pay back more than $40,000 she had stolen from her former boss, Tartt thought his nightmare was over.

"I thought the money was going to be handed over to the restitution fund immediately as a part of her getting out of jail," Tartt said.

But after he found out where much of the money would end up, he was floored.

"People will do anything to survive," said Tartt.

On Monday, Troung was called to court for allegedly failing to pay back restitution as promised, but just as she was going to be hauled back to jail, the prosecutor heard from Troung's boyfriend, who produced receipts of payments she had made.

Faced with the new evidence, Troung's attorney, Raymond Bess, made a stunning admission to the court.

According to the court documents, he stated, "None of this is her fault. It's 100 percent my fault. She deposited money into my escrow account, which I spent."

Tartt said, "I'm surprised, but I'm not surprised. I think that there's a lot of desperate people out there today."

At an address associated with Bess' practice, we were told he no longer had offices there. Our repeated messages left for him also have not been returned.

As for Troung, she has since hired a new attorney who is trying to recoup the money, something Tartt has been waiting years to see and will have to wait even longer.

"Do I think I'll ever get my money? I'm going to have to go through this whole process again. I'm going to have to go chase this lawyer," Tartt said.

We spoke with Troung's new attorney who told us that she is cooperating with the District Attorney's Office to possibly bring charges against Bess.


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