“Goofy Letter” Unmasks Bogus Attorney

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Prosecutors in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, say they became suspicious of Jeffrey Riddell in March after they got a letter from him on behalf of a criminal defendant he was representing.  Although it was written on letterhead, the letter was threatening and "goofy," according to one prosecutor.  It "was just not what you would expect an attorney to write."

He hasn’t been in this business very long if he thinks attorneys don’t write threatening and goofy letters.  I’ve got several examples of threatening and goofy pleadings right here on this website, one of which is complete with stick-figure illustrations.  Unfortunately, at least so far I haven’t been able to find a copy of Riddell’s letter to see just how threatening and/or goofy it may have been.

It was only the first of a series of letters that prosecutors say they got from Riddell in the case, along with almost daily phone calls.  "Then, when he saw Riddell at a hearing," the report says, prosecutor Stephen Snook "started getting very suspicious."  Again, unfortunately I can only speculate as to what Riddell was doing that made Snook suspicious that he was not who he claimed to be.  So, how about, he was reciting dialogue from a recent episode of Law & Order while wearing a rainbow wig, holding a sparkler in each hand and doing a number from "Riverdance."  Like I said, I’m only speculating here.

After an investigation, prosecutors arrested Riddell and charged him with the unauthorized practice of law (you can be prosecuted for that?) on the grounds that this "Jeffrey Riddell" had assumed the identity of a real attorney also named "Jeffrey Riddell," who had left the country and deactivated his license to practice law in the state.  Snook speculated that Riddell had learned about Riddell by accident after Googling his name, which is not as entertaining as my speculation but is probably a decent theory.  Riddell (the goofy one) has never had a license to practice law but does have a criminal record.  Prosecutors are unsure how many people Riddell has represented over the past few months, and have asked any other "clients" to come forward.

They said that Riddell did plan to represent himself in his own case.

Link: AP via My Way News