February 19, 2018
HOUSTON – Former National Oilwell Varco, L.P., (NOV) management employee Royce G. Binnion Jr. recently began serving a five-year prison term for first-degree felony theft, an outgrowth of a civil suit judgment lawyers at Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C., or AZA secured for client NOV.
Mr. Binnion was convicted of perpetrating a long-running scheme in which he submitted fake invoices to his employer to steal more than $1 million that he either took in cash or used to buy an odd array of items ranging from a police radar gun to catfish for his pond.
AZA conducted the initial investigation tracking the expenditures against items that Mr. Binnion acquired and then aggressively moved the civil suit to judgment despite numerous obstacles Binnion tried to put in the way. At the same time, AZA worked with Chip Lewis, a former prosecutor and acclaimed criminal defense attorney, who served as the liaison for NOV with Harris County prosecutors to facilitate the filing of criminal charges. The jury in the criminal case found Mr. Binnion guilty.
Mr. Binnion appealed his Harris County jury sentence and finally exhausted his appeals and was placed in custody by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in February. Lawyers at AZA had earlier obtained a $4 million civil judgment against Mr. Binnion and assisted the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in the criminal prosecution.
“AZA conducted a very thorough investigation of Binnion’s theft scheme. This investigation provided the foundation for the criminal prosecution leading to a jury convicting Binnion of theft and sentencing him to prison,” said Mr. Lewis.
Mr. Binnion was sentenced to five years in prison and fined $10,000 by a jury in Harris County District Judge Catherine Evans’ court. He also owes $5.3 million to NOV, his former employer, because of a judgment that ended a state court civil suit filed against him by the company. NOV, a Houston-based publicly traded oilfield equipment supplier, fired Mr. Binnion in May 2011 after discovering the scheme he ran between 2008 and 2011.
AZA partners John Zavitsanos, and Tim Shelby represented NOV in the successful civil suit. More than $4 million of the money Mr. Binnion owes to NOV is in punitive damages. The civil case was National Oilwell Varco LP v. Royce G. Binnion Jr. in Harris County’s 55th District Court, case 2011-68924.
Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C., or AZA, is a Houston-based law firm that is home to true courtroom lawyers with a formidable track record in complex commercial litigation, including energy, intellectual property, and business dispute cases. AZA is recognized by Chambers USA 2017 among the best in Texas commercial law; by U.S. News – Best Lawyers’ Best Law Firms as one of the country’s best commercial litigation firms for 2018; and previously by Law360 as a Texas Powerhouse law firm. National corporate counsel named AZA one of the country’s best in client service among law firms serving the Fortune 1000.