LINDEN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced on Monday that he has settled with a horse seller that allegedly engaged in common law fraud and violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
E-Tex Equine Co. and its owner, Patricia Wilson, allegedly sold horses that were blind, injured, sick and lacked up-to-date documentation proving that individual animals had been tested for infectious disease. Wilson also allegedly didn't disclose the animals' true health conditions in deals in several states.
Along with the Texas Animal Health Commission, Abbott alleged that the defendants routinely posted advertisements on websites where horses were commonly described as healthy, gentle, trained for riding and suitable for children.
Many of Wilson's customers complained that the animals they received were blind, scarred, underweight, barely trained and otherwise materially different from the horse they thought they were buying.
Wilson allegedly falsely claimed that her horses had been subjected to infectious anemia tests and had the correct papers verifying the veterinary test results for specific animals.
Furthermore, she allegedly claimed that her horses were acquired from children's camps, but they were purchased from horse auctions solely for the purpose of reselling them.
Wilson allegedly attempted to conceal her identity by employing multiple aliases, including Valerie Wilson, Patricia Ferraris, Trish Wilson, Patricia Gumm, Molly Duck, Tanja Hamilton and D. Murphy. Wilson also allegedly used multiple proper names of ranches in an effort to convince customers that they were dealing with several equine professionals rather than just one.
Under terms of the agreement, Wilson is required to pay a total of $65,300 in restitution to customers who purchased sick or unhealthy animals. She must also halt any further action in the horse business, including sales.
Wilson must also pay $10,000 in civil penalties and $15,000 for costs associated with the litigation.