A Pennsylvania man is facing serious federal charges based on a claim made by authorities that he has been practicing law for more than a decade without being a licensed attorney. The man, 62 years of age, is at risk of punitive repercussions if he is convicted on charges of making false statements, mail fraud and wire fraud. The maximum penalty on those charges includes fines of up to $1.5 million, as well as 75 years in federal prison.
The case is the result of an investigation conducted in part by Homeland Security Investigations. The man is accused of providing legal services to at least 74 clients, all without having the legal authority to practice law. His work was conducted mainly in the area of immigration and citizenship law. Authorities believe that, in multiple cases, he appeared in court on behalf of clients.
It is alleged that the man assisted clients in as many as six states and three countries. According to reports, he used attorney identification numbers of four Pennsylvania attorneys to process those cases through the court system. It is unclear how authorities determined that he was practicing law, or if any clients were harmed by his actions.
There is no report concerning how the man plans to respond to these federal fraud charges. It is also unclear if he had any form of legal education, or if he was licensed to practice law in another country prior to taking on these cases. As the case moves forward in the Pennsylvania federal courts, additional details may become available.
Source: abajournal.com, "Nonlawyer accused of practicing since 2003 faces federal charges", Martha Neil, Sept. 10, 2015