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Real Time for Fake Attorney in $6 M Scam

Posted Sep 27, 2007 7:18 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A sham lawyer scam that reportedly cost clients of an impersonated Long Island attorney $6 million has netted a hefty prison sentence for the paralegal perpetrator.

Mohammed Rafikian was sentenced to prison terms totaling as much as 50 years for persuading eight clients of an attorney for whom he worked part-time at Marcus & Associates in Astoria to "invest" amounts ranging from $63,000 to $3.2 million by pretending to be the employer lawyer, according to the Times Ledger. Rafikian, a resident of Westbury, L.I., was sentenced last week to between 6 2/3 years and 20 years, or 5 and 15 years, on various counts, but the article doesn't specify the sentences for specific counts. It implies that the sentences will be served consecutively.

Rafikian's legal skills reportedly were sufficient to persuade clients that he was actually an attorney, but fell short at trial. "Although charged with impersonating an attorney and practicing law without a license, the defendant chose to represent himself at trial," notes Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. "The old adage, 'One who represents himself has a fool for a client,' was once again proven true."

More details of the crimes are provided in an ABAJournal.com post and a Newsday article written before he was convicted. Rafikian's age is given by different publications as either 41 or 47.

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