Accused county official appears in court

September 17, 2010 3:19:23 PM PDT
Harris County's financial services director made his first court appearance Friday morning. Edwin Harrison is accused of stealing from a relative. His wife is also accused of financial improprieties. Edwin Harrison and his wife Linda did both surrender to court this morning. Both are accused of stealing from Harrison's sister in order to build a lavish lifestyle for themselves.

The Harrisons sat in the back of the courtroom for most of the hearing. Combined, they face a total of 11 charges. Edwin Harrison is accused of stealing more than $200,000 from his 73-year-old sister Cecile. Linda is accused of forging documents.

In court, prosecutors alleged the couple stole money to buy land and build a house for themselves in the Galleria area. But defense attorneys claim Edwin Harrison was his sister's power-of-attorney and was actually looking out for her.

"Being a fiduciary has certain responsibilities with it," said Assistant District Attorney Terese Buess. "It basically means that you have to look out for the rights and the benefits of the person that you have the power-of-attorney for. That means that you don't do it to benefit yourself, you take actions and spend money to make sure that they are taken care of."

Defense attorney Connie Williams explained, "The house that they are building consists of approximately 5,700 square feet. Approximately 1,100 square feet of that home is dedicated to Ms. Cecilia Harrison, with an elevator, with a room for her assistant to help her."

The sister was also in court today. Defense attorneys say she was present as a show of support of the Harrisons.

The couple was successful in their effort to have their bond reduced. Their combined bond is now a little more than $500,000. There's no word when the next arraignment hearing will take place.


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