Today's Quote: Looking for a Lawyer? 'Ware the Shirt and Tie Scam!

"He walked around wearing a shirt and tie … and identified himself as a lawyer, I'm sure others may have fallen for his scam," said Broward Sheriff's Office Economic Crimes Detective John Calabro. Excerpt from "North Lauderdale man arrested on charge of impersonating lawyer" (Orlando Sentinel)

But I think the "sophisticated" touch that "impressed" even the detective was the business card identifying the alleged thief and impersonator as "Dr." - as well as "Ph.D., E. JD Attorney at Law."

Okay, I'll confess my ignorance. I had to look up EJD, which I think stands for Executive Juris Doctor, or worse...

(You might want to stop reading here, because the rest of the post, which was just supposed to contain the one quote, is about the addictive nature of Google and the many virtual roads you can choose to travel if you can't just walk away from your computer at 11 p.m.)

Lawyer Central has a "verified" profile for an individual in the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida area with the same name and initials as the accused (I need to get out more 'cause I didn't know there was a Who's Who in the World), with a link to a business website for an individual with the same name and even more initials, i.e. J.S.D.-MD.R. (the last being a very versatile acronym, my fave being Miniature Donkey Registry.) The site shares links to almost 40 impressive institutions, including MIT, the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (which at first I thought was for astronauts but after attempting to speed-read the site, now have no idea who it's for), the National Republican Congressional Committee, FindLaw and yep, the Florida Sheriffs Association. The site states the individual is registered and good standing with the listed organizations, as well as The Florida Bar (a lawyer search for this name yielded no results, at least not as of the time of this post).

Word to the wise, it's always a seriously bad sign when your lawyer's website has Google banner ads at the top.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the alleged victim began to suspect his lawyer's credentials when he spotted him looking intoxicated at a bus stop - and when a paralegal also said he wasn't a lawyer. The alleged victim filed a complaint with The Florida Bar, which in turn notified the local sheriff's office.

Despite the suit and tie, but probably with the help of the initials and jaw-dropping credentials, the possessor of the alleged multiple doctorates has been charged with two felonies, grand theft and UPL, and as of the date the news article was published, was being held on $10,000 bond.

On the bright side, at least this guy didn't tell anyone he was a paralegal.

Source: Orlando Sentinel

Reprinted with permission of Lynne J. DeVenny, Author/Blogger at Practical Paralegalism,