A Tennessee man who pretended to be top lawyer at a fake elite New York firm has pleaded guilty.
Geoffrey Berman, US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said that John Lambert, whose fake lawyer name was Eric Pope, admitted to a count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in his scheme to defraud clients of legal advice and services.
“John Lambert represented himself to clients as a prominent New York attorney with a law degree from an elite law school. But Lambert’s de facto career was one of a grifter: he had never been to law school and certainly wasn’t an attorney,” Berman said.
According to the lawsuit filed against Lambert, he faked being a leading attorney located in New York, all while he was a student at Campbell University in North Carolina.
A previous report from the American Bar Association Journal said that he lifted lawyer biographies from Cravath, Swaine, & Moore for the website of the fake law firm he called Pope and Dunn. His fake persona made it appear like he had hundreds of clients, including “tech moguls” and “entrepreneurs” in the US and Europe.
Lambert successfully duped at least six individuals and corporations, who paid him money for purported legal advice and services on a wide range of subjects that included credit reports, will drafting, corporate and IP law, and a dispute with a former employee. Berman said that one victim took out part of his 401(k) to pay Lambert.
Lambert, who will be sentenced by US District Judge Valerie Caproni in November, faces up to 20 years in prison.