CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) _ An embattled South Texas Democratic donor was indicted Friday on charges of money laundering and impersonating a lawyer.
The two new indictments handed up by a Nueces County grand jury bring the total number of indictments against Mauricio Celis to six. The money laundering charge is a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison if he is convicted.
"That alleges that he used the money that he obtained from his falsely holding himself out as a lawyer violation," Nueces County District Attorney Carlos Valdez told The Associated Press Friday evening.
A telephone number for Celis could not be found. His attorney didn't return a message for comment.
Celis, 36, owned Corpus Christi-based CGT Law Group International before coming under public scrutiny after a bizarre incident with police in September and an ad campaign by another lawyer claiming Celis was not a licensed attorney.
Celis was indicted last fall on four felony charges of impersonating a lawyer and a police officer, perjury and theft.
Friday's indictments included 16 additional counts of impersonating a lawyer. Each of those charges is a third-degree felony. If convicted, Celis could receive two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
"As far as we're concerned, the investigation is over," Valdez said.
Texas law prohibits anyone from owning a controlling interest in a law firm unless he is a licensed lawyer.
Celis also has been sued by the Texas Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott for allegedly practicing law without a license.
Celis has contributed thousands to state and federal candidates, including the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton. Several candidates for state office who accepted campaign cash from Celis have since donated it to charity.
Information from the Corpus Christi Caller-Times: www.caller.com
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.