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Former NASCAR driver calls theft charges part of a conspiracy

If O.J. Simpson and Lindsay Lohan have taught us anything, it's that celebrities are not above the law. Among the ranks of accused public figures is former race car driver Jeremy Mayfield, who has been indicted on three counts of possession of stolen property and one count of obtaining property under false pretenses.

Mayfield, 42, was arrested in November at his home in Catawba, North Carolina, after deputies received a tip about stolen goods at his house. Police said that in addition to about $100,000 in stolen goods -- which included furniture from DEA Ventures and more than $1,000 in personal property from Red Bull Racing Inc. -- they found 1.5 grams of methamphetamine.

Mayfield released a statement recently proclaiming his innocence. "For some reason, the district attorney's office simply ignored our offers to explain the sources of the items seized from my property and chose, instead, to indict," the statement said.

This isn't Mayfield's first time inside a courtroom. In May 2009 he was suspended by NASCAR after testing positive for methamphetamine. Mayfield sued NASCAR and the drug testing company for breach of contract, unfair and deceptive business practices, discrimination and defamation, arguing that a combination of over-the-counter drugs and the prescription drug Adderall led to the positive test and that NASCAR's random testing system was flawed. But those claims were dismissed by a judge in May 2010 because in order to race, he had twice signed documents waiving his right to sue.

Adding to the problems since his suspension, he's faced judgments of more than $2 million for failing to pay bills and owes more than $100,000 in property taxes. He's also on the edge of foreclosure on his 388-acre property.

Mayfield said recently that he suspects the most recent investigation against him may be tied to his attempt to sue NASCAR. He said the tip police received about stolen goods came from a man with a long criminal record.

Regardless of whether Mayfield is guilty, his legal troubles are growing, and claims of a conspiracy don't do much to strengthen his case. Often when someone is accused of one or more crimes, the tendency is to vigorously fight back using whatever means possible, even if they're counterproductive. A more solid and reliable approach would to contact an attorney with experience in defending against the particular charges -- in this case, property crimes. With a qualified legal professional at your side, you don't have to fight your battles alone.

Source: Winston-Salem Journal, "Jeremy Mayfield says he's victim of conspiracy," The Associated Press, Feb. 23, 2012

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