Criminal Justice

Ex-Attorney Working as Paralegal Charged With Stealing Boss Lawyer's ID to Practice in Calif. Court


A former California lawyer who gave up his law license more than a decade ago is facing 13 felony charges, accused of assuming a licensed attorney’s identity and practicing under the other lawyer’s name, including making multiple court appearances for clients in San Mateo County Superior Court.

John Hedderman, 52, was released on $50,000 bail after being charged with practicing law without a license and multiple charges of burglary and identity theft, reports the San Mateo County Times.

Hedderman pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday. His lawyer, Ed Pomeroy, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from the newspaper.

Hedderman was previously convicted on 12 felony counts after passing himself off as another lawyer in Orange County years ago, the newspaper says. Articles published in 2008 in the Orange County Register and the OC Weekly provide additional details.

In the latest case, Hedderman is accused of taking on the identity of attorney Donald Welch.when representing a client, Ruben Bisceglia, in a criminal case, making three court appearances on his behalf.

The Daily Journal says that Hedderman worked as a paralegal in the law office of the real Donald Welch, a Southern California practitioner.

Karen Guidotti, who serves as chief deputy San Mateo County district attorney, said the true situation came to light when a prosecutor contacted the real Welch to follow up on a restitution order concerning Bisceglia, and was told by Welch he had never heard of his purported client, according to the Daily Journal and the San Mateo County Times. That led to an investigation by the DA’s office and charges against Hedderman.

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