A Newport Beach, Calif., man was arraigned Wednesday on charges of impersonating an attorney and defrauding clients through debt consolidation and mortgage modification schemes, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office.
James Frank Barker, 57, was charged April 5 on eight counts of money laundering and three counts of grand theft. He was also charged with aggravated white-collar crime of more than $100,000, property damage/loss of more than $65,000, and property loss of more than $200,000.
Between December 2013 and July 2015, Barker is accused of posing as an attorney under different aliases and law firm names. He is also accused of soliciting clients by promising to consolidate outstanding debts and/or reduce mortgage payments through loan modifications, according to the report.
Between November 2013 and July 2015, Barker is accused of collecting more than $45,000 from three clients. He also is accused of never notifying his clients' debtors of his representation, attempting to negotiate any debts on behalf of his clients, and never submitting any mortgage assistance applications on behalf of his clients, according to the DA's office.
The DA's investigation also discovered that Barker had never been a licensed member of the State Bar of California. The Newport Beach Police Department arrested him on May 15, the statement said.
He is facing a maximum sentence of 11 years and 8 months in prison, according to the DA's statement. Barker's pretrial hearing is scheduled for May 25.
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