This week a man from Illinois was convicted for impersonating a lawyer. Tahir Malik, age 47, handled over 60 cases involving traffic violations, petty criminal offences and mortgage foreclosures, charging fees from $500.00 to $4500.00.
A court employee remarked that Mr. Malik “strutted around the courtroom like a hotshot”. However, one court clerk was suspicious of his odd behavior and an investigation was launched. Malik had no law degree, but he had plenty of personal experience in the criminal courts. Relying on his first-hand knowledge of how a court operates and boning up by watching lawyer’s shows on television, he was able to pull off his scam.
Mr. Malik is not alone in faking his call to the bar.
Chas Brady is another lawyer imposter. Brady, age 28, was the step-son of a member of the House of Representatives, who held himself out to be a Harvard Law graduate specializing in land use law.
Before he was caught, he conned doctors, lawyers and other professionals who were impressed by his charm and apparent knowledge of the law and the justice system. Attracting retainers as high as $50,000.00 , Brady’s “reveal” occurred when he forged a document which purported to cancel a lien on a property his clients were purchasing.
His conduct caused his clients to lose a $3 million property in Florida. Those who know Chas Brady agree that with his smarts and people skills he would make a great lawyer, if he went to law school. But Chas Brady has never even attended college. He was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment in 2008.
But his story doesn’t end here. After his release from prison, Brady picked up where he left off. He had several corporate and individual clients and secured a position as a legal and financial advisor for a company in Florida in 2010 working on insurance claims and code violations. The company knew about his past but decided he needed a “break” to get back in the business world.
They knew he was not a lawyer, but Brady told the company’s insurance carrier that he was. His new life fell apart when the company realized that his work was causing financial chaos.
They also found documents in his office indicating that he was acting for several individuals on their clemency appeals. He was arrested and jailed for probation violation, but was released shortly thereafter.
Tiffany Gwen Weaver, age 29, from Maryland also impersonated a lawyer, but her motive was different from most fake lawyers. She used a State Bar Association card and a business card of a criminal lawyer who was on maternity leave, to convince prison officials that she was there to meet with her client who was serving 30 years for manslaughter.
Within a few moments of meeting her client, a guard noticed they appeared to be having sexual relations. Calling her scam “an elaborate and clever scheme”, the Judge found her guilty of impersonating a lawyer and forging documents. She received a term of probation.
Each of these imposters wanted the title, prestige and perks, but were not prepared to work for them. As Vidal Sasoon observed:
“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang