A 28-year-old Plano man is going to federal prison for more than five years after falsely claiming to be a lawyer -- despite submitting a badge declaring him to be an "Officer of the Court" of the Cherokee Nation.
That's not good enough?
Well, it isn't when a clerk for the Cherokee Nation's Supreme Court testifies that a) they don't give out badges, and b) you were disbarred by the Nation for stealing the bar number of a guy with a similar name.
Richardson had been defending aliens in Dallas and had advertised himself as an immigration attorney, the U.S. Attorney's office here in Houston, which prosecuted the case, says.
"Richardson fabricated dozens of documents to portray himself as an attorney with an established law office, including judicial certificates of good standing, bar memberships, business cards and other advertisements, law firm stationery and client retainer agreements," prosecutors said.
He generally charged $2,500 in fees, and whatever the Cherokee word for "chutzpah" is, he has it.
"Evidence also showed that Richardson continued taking new paying clients until days before his trial in Laredo." prosecutors said. "While out on bond pending his trial, Richardson also relocated his office from Farmers Branch to a better location in Dallas across the street from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Removal and Deportation Office."
The judge formally found that "Richardson's conduct was an abuse of trust which substantially interfered with the administration of justice as well as an extensive and well-planned and executed fraud which duped vulnerable victims, interfering with their 'right to be legitimately represented.'"