"White Collar" Charges for Two Men, One Company

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A former College Station employee, an industry president and his company are in hot water, with charges of theft and bribery hanging over them.

"White collar cases are very difficult," said Shane Phelps with the DA's office. "They're very complicated. They're document intensive. It's required a great deal of work to get to the point we're at now."

Paul Urso, the former superintendent of streets and drainage for College Station, faces two charges of engaging in organized criminal activity, as does Carey Smith, the president of Texcon contractors.

The two allegedly conspired to steal tens of thousands of dollars from the city of College Station by overstating materials and labor used by Texcon from September 2000 to March 2002.

Texcon itself also faces charges. "The corporation has been indicted for three counts of bribery and one count of felony theft," Phelps explained.

The organized criminal activity charges Smith and Urso face are normally third degree felonies, but each goes to trial facing first degree charges. The fact that Urso and Smith collaborated on the crimes bumps it up a degree. With Urso being a public servant and Smith contractually-obligated to the government, the charges are bumped up once more.

Besides theft, the two men also allegedly arranged for Urso to receive a trip, construction upgrades at his home and cash from Smith and Texcon.

A trial could be anywhere from six months to a year away. "Preparing for trial, both on the prosecution side and the defense in white collar cases probably takes a lot longer than the ordinary case," said Phelps.

So those accused after the year-and-a-half long investigation will have to wait a little while longer to answer the charges.

First degree felonies are punishable by anywhere from five years in prison to 99 or life, as well as a $10,000 fine.

Texcon faces second-degree felony charges, which for a corporation, is punishable by up to a $20,000 fine per offense. They can also be fine up to double the amount gained in the illegal acts.

Attempts to contact Smith and Urso were unsuccessful, and the City of College Station referred all questions to the district attorney's office.