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I am going to be charged of Mortgage fraud in federal court. Can I safely use a Federal Public Defender? Broke and accused...

Vancouver, WA |

Charges stem from my previous employer, a Mortgage broker in WA. I haven't been charged yet, but it is looking highly probable. I retained an atty locally, but they are not lic. to do business in the state that I am likely to be charged in (OR), and I spennt everything I had on his services. Now I am without any money to fund my defense, and looking at some very serious charges. ZERO Criminal Record of any kind, Father of 1, the households breadwinner, and a Us Navy Veteran. HELP!

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Attorney answers 7

Posted

yes. there are some excellent public defenders

Posted

You should rely on the advice your local attorney has given you.

Posted

Yes. Federal public defenders are often excellent lawyers.

This response does not create an attorney client relationship and is offered for informational purposes only. Only a lawyer fully versed on the facts and circumstances of your case can properly advise you on the case. I am licensed to practice in Minnesota, not every state. You should always consult with an attorney licensed in your area on how best to proceed.

Posted

I know several attorneys who do/have worked for the FPD's office in Portland. Excellent lawyers all around. They are, usually, going to carry a heavier caseload than a privately retained attorney and, therefore, usually have less time to spend on an individual case, but I would hire any one of them that went into private practice if I needed a criminal defense attorney.

Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery.

Posted

If you retained an attorney having told him/her that your matter could result in charges arising out of acts alleged to have been committed in OR, the attorney should have told you s/he couldnt take the case. I think you should ask for all or at least some of your money back - I think it is arguably fraud to accept money for a case in a state in which you arent able to practice.

But having said that, you are in good hands with the federal public defenders in OR. They are conscientious, vigorous, and more than competent. Your case will be in good hands with any of them.

Erin Bradley McAleer

Erin Bradley McAleer

Posted

I think your comment is a bit presumptuous. The asker posted in Washington, and presumably lives there, and the question involves alleged mortgage fraud with a broker in Washington. He also said he "is likely to be charged in Oregon." At this point it would seem that if the acts occurred in Washington and the client lives in Washington there would be no ethical issues with engaging a Washington attorney for advice under the right scenario. Apparently the attorney must have also discussed the fact that he couldn't represent the client in Oregon, if he was charged in Oregon. Sounds like the charges could come from either state. Advocating that the asker demand a refund and allege potential fraud is reckless advice without more info.

Christopher A Swaby

Christopher A Swaby

Posted

I guess I dont read the facts in the same way as you. It seems to me that the HC goes in saying charges could be in OR at which time HA says "I cant represent you there." In any event, asking for a return of at least some of the fees in this situation wouldnt be inappropriate. HA could always say "no" but I expect s/he might return some of the money. I know I would. And I still think it would be fraud to accept money for representation one knows up front one cannot perform. If that isnt what happened here, great. But if it did, that would seem actionable, yes?

Erin Bradley McAleer

Erin Bradley McAleer

Posted

Well fraud includes an intentional misrepresentation of a material fact. It would surely depend on what was said and what the actual scenario presented was. Having an attorney in your state investigate a possible charge that hasn't been charged yet, even if it could be potentially out of state is likely a non-issue. What if all of the facts of the crime arose in Washington? But the client was being contacted by a Federal Agent from Oregon? What if the crime took place in Washington but the business was headquartered in Oregon? I think until charged, it's safe for either an Oregon or Washington attorney to provide advice. Ultimately if the client goes to an Oregon attorney and is wrong, and is charged in Washington I don't think the Oregon attorney would need to refund any money. He would have a duty to advise of the potential issue if not being able to represent the client in Washington, and then the client can decide who to obtain advice from. If both states could possibly be the federal jurisdiction and the client is advised that the attorney is only licensed in one jurisdiction the client can make an informed decision. Thus, no misrepresentation. However, if the actual agreement was to provide full representation through trial and then the attorney withdrawals because he cannot work in a jurisdiction then he would owe likely owe a refund.

Christopher A Swaby

Christopher A Swaby

Posted

fair enough. if those were the facts (and you'll agree the questioner doesnt give this fact pattern) then there wouldnt be any misrepresentation. the issue about returning fees is not limited to "must" situations. if one is in private practice, one should consider returning some portion of a fee, even if completely earned, where it just seems right. i have done that a few times over the years and it has never come back to bite me - in fact, i think it has gotten me more clients. ive enjoyed our colloquy.

Posted

If you truly can not afford your own lawyer in Oregon, then stick with the Federal Public Defender office. If there is any way you can afford your own lawyer, call Noel Grefenson of Salem, OR. I kid you not, Noel is just plain dangerous as a defense guy. Portland is not all that far from Portland.

Posted

Federal Public Defenders generally have access to a number of great resources through their national network. Additionally, they only practice in federal courts and are extremely well-versed in the intricacies of their district, including the quirks of judges and prosecutors.

http://seidenlawoffice.com/ The information available through this site is not, nor intended to be, legal advice. You should contact an attorney to discuss your own personal set of circumstances. Past results do not guarantee future results. Each case is unique and should be judged on its own merits. The choice of an attorney is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.

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