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News Release from Comptroller Susan Combs

For Immediate Release
September 14, 2009

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs Appoints Max Westbrook
as Chief of Criminal Investigations

(AUSTIN) — Texas Comptroller Susan Combs today announced she has hired 24-year Austin Police Department (APD) veteran Lt. Max Westbrook as the new chief of her Criminal Investigation Division.

“Max brings significant experience in complex criminal investigations and extensive knowledge of law enforcement agency policy to the Comptroller’s office,” Combs said. 

From 2003–08, Max served as lieutenant of APD’s Organized Crime Division, where he was responsible for the organization, planning and oversight of long-term federal conspiracy investigations involving narcotics, prison gangs and gambling. During Westbrook’s tenure in APD’s Organized Crime Division, federal prison sentences were handed down against high-level leaders of the Mexican Mafia, an extended family that controlled the heroin trade in Austin, and a target of the Central Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force. 

As an assessor for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), a national accreditation agency that ensures police department policies are consistent with law enforcement standards, Westbrook has evaluated police departments all across the country. From 2001–03, he successfully managed APD’s initial CALEA re-accreditation. 

Westbrook graduated from the FBI National Academy and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Southwest Texas State University. He serves as a lecturer on criminal justice at the University of Texas School of Social Work and has received more than 70 commendations in his career. 

The Comptroller’s Criminal Investigation Division is committed to deterring intentional criminal conduct against the state tax laws it administers by detecting and investigating tax-related crimes and by informing the public of the results of case prosecution on its Web site. The division’s staff combines specialized financial investigators with traditional law enforcement to examine individuals and business entities committing tax-related crimes.

Though most taxpayers are honest business owners who comply voluntarily with tax laws, tax cheaters continue to create new schemes to dodge tax obligations. Some of the most common criminal operations include sales tax violations, cigarette and tobacco tax scams, motor fuels tax evasion and evasion of motor vehicle taxes by falsification of motor vehicle title applications and/or failure to transfer titles on motor vehicle sales.

“Our Criminal Investigation Division ensures all state taxpayers enjoy a level playing field to conduct business,” Combs said. “By ensuring all businesses properly report and remit taxes, and by identifying and bearing down on tax cheaters, we protect legitimate operators against unfair competition from those who sell cheaper, untaxed goods.”

Chief Westbrook began work at the Comptroller’s office Sept. 1. For more information about the Comptroller’s Criminal Investigations Division, visit http://www.window.state.tx.us/about/cid/.

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