By Forum Staff
A Brooklyn man who was disbarred from practicing law in New York 14 years ago has been charged with representing a client in Queens Civil Court by using the identity of the lawyer – since retired – who represented him during his attorney disciplinary proceeding in 2002.
“Despite being disbarred fourteen years ago, the defendant allegedly decided to practice law once again without benefit of applying for reinstatement. His alleged false representation of himself as a licensed attorney is a profound betrayal of trust to not only the individual he represented and his former attorney but to the entire legal community as well,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
The phony lawyer was identified as Jaime Rodriguez, 49, of Brooklyn. Rodriguez was arraigned this week on a criminal complaint charging him with first-degree offering a false instrument, petit larceny and practice of law by attorney who has been disbarred, suspended or convicted of a felony. Rodriguez, who faces up to four years in prison if convicted, was released on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court on Feb. 16.
According to the charges, Rodriguez, who was disbarred in January 2002, filed a notice of appearance in Queens Civil Court on Oct. 19, 2015, in the matter of PLS Check Cashers of New York, Inc., against Miguel Silva, listing Andres Runne as the attorney of record for Silva with Rodriguez appearing of counsel for Runne. However, according to the charges, Runne, who is a retired lawyer, neither represented Silva in the civil matter nor knew Silva, and never authorized Rodriguez to appear on his behalf as an attorney in the matter. Runne indicated that he represented Rodriguez during his attorney disciplinary proceeding before the Grievance Committee for the Second and Eleventh Judicial Districts in or about 2002, and that he has had no further contact with Rodriguez since that time.
Rodriguez also allegedly offered to help Silva with his legal matter and to represent him in court for $800, which Silva paid, not aware that Rodriguez had been disbarred.