Thursday, July 17, 2008

Phony Attorney Charged in Scam

Claimed to Represent Man Facing Deportation

By Conor Greene

RIDGEWOOD – A Seneca Avenue man not licensed to practice law has been charged with providing legal representation to a man who was eventually deported.

Robert DelCarpio, 63, of 783 Seneca Avenue was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court last week on charges of third-degree grand larceny, a felony, and practicing as an attorney without being admitted to the bar.

According to the criminal charges against DelCarpio, a Brooklyn woman, Angela Forde, retained him to represent her son, who was facing deportation to England due to a felony drug conviction. Forde had received DelCarpio’s name and phone number from her son, who was in federal immigration detention in Texas. DelCarpio allegedly agreed to appear in court as her son’s counsel in connection with the appeal of the narcotics conviction and the pending federal deportation proceedings.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, the defendant, operating under a purported business called Criminal Legal Research, Inc. and identifying himself as an “Appellate Attorney,” told Forde that he would prepare and file legal motions and appear in Brooklyn Supreme Court to have her son’s conviction overturned.

Between December 2006 and May 2008, Forde paid DelCarpio more than $7,000, according to Brown. According to court records, the defendant is not admitted to practice law in New York State and no appeals were filed by DelCarpio or anyone else in connection with the criminal case involving Forde’s son.

“By allegedly portraying himself as a duly licensed attorney when he was not actually licensedor admitted to practice law, the only hope the defendant could offer his client was false hope,” said Brown in a statement. “In the end, the client lost her son and thousands of dollars in unwarranted legal fees.”

If convicted, DelCarpio faces up to four years in prison. He was ordered held on $100,000 bond after his first court appearance. Brown said the case “will be prosecuted vigorously and swiftly to ensure the defendant never again has the opportunity to prey upon trusting individuals in need of proper and qualified legal representation.

The District Attorney’s office is asking anyone who believes he or she may have been the victim of the defendant’s alleged scheme to contact his office at (718) 286-6560. The investigation began after a clerk with the state Appellate Court referred the matter to Brown’s office.