Staff Editorial

What’s yours is mine, but what’s mine is mine

Carlos Correa, a Houston-area attorney accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars is headed to prison. Correa allegedly continued to cash his deceased father’s Social Security checks because they kept coming. Due to a lack of communication, the issuers were never informed of Correa’s father’s death. He died in 1996, and since that time, Correa has amassed nearly $180,000 from the fund, investigators said.

According to KPRC Local 2, it took jurors only 20 minutes to find him guilty of one charge of theft. Correa pleaded guilty to aggravated perjury.

His sentencing, which is in two weeks, is expected to put Correa behind bars for at least 12 years. He has been suspended from the state bar twice, and once he is released from prison, Correa will not be allowed to practice law.

“[People] are obligated to notify the Social Security Administration. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are or what you’re doing. If you’re getting money that you know you’re not entitled to, it’s stealing, and you need to let the Social Security Administration know so that they can cut off those benefits,” Assistant District Attorney Beth Shipley told KPRC.

As Correa is familiar with courtrooms and state and federal laws and likely made a decent salary for himself as an attorney, it’s hard to feel sorry for him. But we could all use this as a lesson in law and ethics. Not only were his actions unlawful, but they fell into the category of unethical as well.

From a young age, we’re all taught that what belongs to someone else is not ours and if we plan to take it without asking, there will be consequences. It seems like common sense, but a lot of us tend to be hypocrites.

Are Correa’s actions any worse than keeping a wallet found on the ground? There’s no such thing as a victimless crime because that wallet belongs to someone.

For this reason, it’s important to keep ourselves accountable and realize that, although keeping a lost wallet may not land us jail time, it teaches us a bad habit .

Assuming you keep up with the news, Bernie Madoff is a good example to think about in order to keep yourself in check. Countless others prove it’s a hard habit to break too.

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