Ralph Girvin
Division Chief
(915) 546-8105

DOWNTOWN OFFICE
500 E. San Antonio
5th Floor, Suite 503
El Paso, Texas 79901
Phone (915) 546-2050
Fax (915) 546-2133

Monday - Friday
8:00 am to 5:00 pm

YSLETA ANNEX OFFICE
9521 Socorro Rd.  Suite A-3
El Paso , Texas 79927
Phone (915) 858-2239
Fax (915) 858-0631

Monday-Friday
8:30 am to 5:30 pm


NORTHEAST ANNEX OFFICE
4641 Cohen St. Suite D
El Paso , Texas 79924
Phone (915) 858-2239
Fax (915) 858-0631

Monday-Friday
8:30 am to 5:00 pm

comments@ca.epcounty.com

County Attorney

  • Deceptive Business Practice Unit
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  • Deceptive Business Practice Warrant List
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  • The County Attorney Criminal Unit is responsible for the prosecution of those engaging in abusive and dishonest business practices. This is commonly known as Consumer Fraud.
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  • Deceptive Business Practices
  • The El Paso County Attorney is responsible for prosecuting Deceptive Business Practices. These provisions of the Texas Penal Code are designed to deter specific types of dishonest or abusive business practices. These business practices can be pursued civilly or criminally, while criminal Deceptive Business Practices and civil Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) appear to be similar laws, they are however, significantly different.
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  • First, criminal business practices can only be prosecuted by the State. The County Attorney has the responsibility to determine which cases should be prosecuted, and which cases should be declined. Private attorneys, as well as the State Attorney General's Office, the District Attorney's Office, and the County Attorney can enforce the civil DTPA.
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  • Second, the Penal Code is construed narrowly; the civil DTPA is construed liberally. In short, this means a criminal violation must be more clearly established than a civil violation.
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  • Third, the State must prove a violation for the criminal business practices provisions of the Texas Penal Code "beyond a reasonable doubt." This standard is the same required in all criminal cases, such as murder, homicide and robbery. A plaintiff in a civil DTPA case can prevail ("win") if he or she proves his or her case by a "preponderance of the evidence," which simply means it is more likely than less likely that the seller of goods or services mislead the consumer.
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  • Finally, the State must prove in a criminal case that the defendant acted with "criminal intent," which means he or she intended to engage in the prohibited conduct, or acted with "criminal negligence." In a civil DTPA case the business is held to a strict standard of truthfulness in marketing goods or services; it is not necessary to prove he or she intended to misrepresent the goods or services, or that he or she intended to mislead the consumer.
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  • In spite of these restrictions and limitations, the criminal Deceptive Business Practice provisions in the Texas Penal Code provide significant protection against dishonest and abusive business practices. The State can put the offender in jail, if he or she is successfully prosecuted. The threat of criminal prosecution, and the imposition of criminal sanctions, sometimes is the only deterrent to criminal marketplace misconduct.
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  • If you believe you have been a victim of a criminal Deceptive Business Practice, you should file a complaint with your local law enforcement agency. Residents of the City of El Paso can file complaints with the El Paso Police Department over the phone by calling (915) 832-4436. Once the police investigation is completed, the case may be referred to the County Attorney's Office for prosecution.