July 23, 2019

Tenth Circuit: Convictions for Offenses Related to Unauthorized Practice of Law Affirmed; Two Sentences Vacated

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in United States v. Kieffer on Monday, June 11, 2012.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part the district court’s decision. Petitioner held himself out as a successful nationwide criminal law attorney based in Santa Ana, California, and subsequently gained admission to several federal trial and appellate courts around the country, where he appeared on behalf of numerous criminal defendants. All the while, Petitioner was not and never has been an attorney. “He never went to law school, never sat for a bar exam, and never received a license to practice law.” In 2009, a jury in the District of North Dakota convicted Petitioner of mail fraud and making false statements, finding that he “gained admission to the District of North Dakota by submitting a materially false application to the court. He then relied on that admission to gain admission to the District of Minnesota, District of Colorado, and Western District of Missouri. Once admitted in those districts, [Petitioner] proceeded to appear on behalf of federal criminal defendants unaware of his true identity. The district court sentenced [Petitioner] to 51 months imprisonment and ordered him to pay $152,750 in restitution to six victims of his scheme. The Eighth Circuit affirmed.”

In 2010, a jury in the District of Colorado also convicted Petitioner of making false statements in addition to wire fraud and contempt of court. “As to the false statements count, the jury found that to gain admission to the District of Colorado, [Petitioner] fraudulently represented to the court clerk’s office that he was licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia. As to the wire fraud count, the jury found [Petitioner] used a website, www.boplaw.com, to promote his unauthorized practice of law and bilk a criminal defendant’s brother out of several thousand dollars. Lastly, as to the contempt count, the jury found [Petitioner] jeopardized the administration of justice by lying to the clerk’s office and purporting to represent that criminal defendant before the district court. The district court sentenced Defendant to 57 months imprisonment to run consecutively to the 51 month sentence previously imposed on him in the District of North Dakota. The court further ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $152,019 to seven victims of his scheme unaccounted for in North Dakota, and directed him as a special condition of supervised release to obtain the probation office’s preapproval of any proposed employment or business ventures.” Petitioner appealed his most recent convictions and sentence. The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment of conviction, but vacate its judgment of sentence on the wire fraud and false statements counts.

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