Crooked Contractor

A contractor convicted of theft and facing additional charges bounces around Texas till he hits Houston

Unlike Castillo, Avalos doesn't mind dropping the F-bomb.

When reached on his cell phone and asked about how one goes about contracting work when one's a fugitive, Avalos said: "You're such a brain-fucking-child, why don't you figure it out yourself?"

Like Strappel, Avalos was pretty tight-lipped. He explained that he hadn't "opened" in Houston yet, and that the new business entities weren't even registered under his name. Then he hung up. When reached again, Avalos offered this: "You're just being a pain in the ass for no apparent reason. Someone's called you and told you things that they had no business talking to you [about] at all, you know? So you're trying...to make damaging reports before something even gets off the ground out there, okay? But I guess that's what you assholes do out there, right? You don't have a life so you go around ruining other people's names, right? You were abused as children or something, you need attention? Is that what it is?"

Unfortunately, Avalos's Houston business never got off the ground.
Unfortunately, Avalos's Houston business never got off the ground.

On October 3, a few days after his articulate phone interview, Avalos surrendered to Bexar County authorities and was booked into jail. Although the warrant was issued "no-remand," meaning no option of bail, Avalos had remarkable timing: When he went to court for his hearing October 18, he faced a visiting judge, as the sitting judge was out of town for her mother's funeral. Also out of town that week was Joanne Woodruff, the prosecutor handling the case. So without a prosecutor to argue otherwise, the visiting judge set bail and Avalos bonded out.

Woodruff told the Press that, as soon as her office found out what happened, they acted swiftly. A new warrant was issued October 23 and he was booked into jail October 30. A hearing was set for November 5. The two counts of theft carry a total of six years incarceration. Although it may have taken a while for Avalos's case to hit the D.A.'s office, Woodruff assured the Press that the office vigorously prosecutes scamming contractors. She added that, unlike some other counties, Bexar gladly pays to have fugitives returned, even if they're picked up in other states. (She mentioned a high-­profile case of a fraudulent contractor who was sentenced last November to 90 years in prison.)

While they're happy that Avalos is finally off the street, Castillo's group is still bewildered as to why it took so long in the first place. Lawrence-Weden probably put it best in her letter to the Bexar County D.A.'s office: "I feel we need to have some answers to pass along to the other victims. We feel we have been [victimized] twice, by Mr. Avalos and the very system we trust to enforce our laws."

craig.malisow@houstonpress.com

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