Sunday, January 15, 2006

Lawyer Allegedly Kidnaps Client Over Fees

A lawyer faces a felony charge of kidnapping for allegedly abducting a client from his wedding celebration in an attempt to collect legal fees.

Police say Paula Allen, 51, took Rolando Castelan from his Dec. 10 wedding and then drove him around in handcuffs as Castelan called friends and family from a cell phone to scrounge up the money he owed his lawyer, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported for its Friday edition.

Allen, who was arrested this week, referred calls to her lawyer, Ron Moody, when contacted by The Associated Press. Moody could not immediately be reached Thursday night.

Castelan, 31, hired Allen in April when he was arrested for possession of a stolen firearm, tampering with a government document and possession of a controlled substance.

Allen vouched for Castelan's bond amount of $5,000, police said. Six months later, a grand jury indicted Castelan on the drug possession charge, but he failed to show up to court.

Allen tried to persuade Castelan to come to court, but when he didn't, the court found her responsible for the $5,000 bond.

Police say she took Castelan from his wedding reception with the help of three "associates," whom police have not identified.

When Castelan's ex-wife agreed to meet and pay the money, Castelan managed to escape the Suburban he had been held in for four hours.

Castelan turned himself into authorities nine days later and remains in the McLennan County Jail for his indictment. His post-indictment warrant does not allow for a bond.

Allen was released from the McLennan County Jail on Wednesday on a personal recognizance bond.



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