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'DWI Dude' Facing Federal Charges

(Photo credit: 420dude.com)

Austin attorney Jamie Balagia is no stranger to controversy and run-ins with authority.  Two years ago he was sued by the State Bar of Texas over allegations of misconduct, claiming he kept $50,000 from two Amarillo clients.

Balagia, who is known around Austin as the "DWI Dude" and the "420 Dude" due to his representation of drunk driving and possession suspects, has now been slapped with federal charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and obstruction of justice.

According to court documents, Balagia was involved in a scam with two other people.  The men would allegedly offer to bribe prosecutors and judges working drug cases in exchange for money from Colombian clients.  In total, officials say they were trying to scam the clients out of $2-million, but came with with roughly $1.2-million before Balagia's arrest.

There is no indication from investigators that Balagia, nor his co-defendants, actually bribed anyone.

Balagia is being held without bail in Bonham, TX.  If convicted, Balagia and his co-defendants could spend 20 years in a federal jail cell.  

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