A Utah woman was arrested Tuesday in a bizarre case in which police say she stole the identity of a real attorney, opened her own law office and even represented at least on client in court.
Police say Karla Cabo, 29, even hired a bar certified attorney for her fake firm.
As recently as December 23, Cabo–who posed as a Ms. Karla Stirling Fierro–showed up to a district court representing an alleged criminal and even signed legal papers as his official counsel.
‘There were a couple of things she said that kind of raised my eyebrows,’ Summit County attorney Matthew Bates recalled from that day in an interview with Deseret News. ‘But it wasn’t enough to make me dig any deeper because we get attorneys from other parts of the state or newer defense attorneys all the time.’
Karla Cabo, 29, (left) was arrested this week for stealing the identity and bar number of attorney Karla Stirling (right) and then practicing law in her name
Per Utah law, attorneys must give their name and bar number when they appear in court.
They do not, however, have to show photo identification.
And Cabo, police say, conveniently had a bar number, one that belonged to attorney Karla Stirling.
Why she came up with the Fierro is anyone’s guess.
The California and Utah-based attorney she allegedly impersonated certainly hasn’t a clue.
‘It’s been shocking to hear that there’s been somebody else whose doing this with my name and my bar number,’ Karla Stirling told Deseret. ‘I mean, who would take it that far to full-on impersonate someone and use a legitimate bar number?’
Stirling said she worries about the clients whose cases could have been harmed by Cabo’s lack of any legal training.
For the client she represented in court December 23, the judge will likely give him a chance to–if they so choose–take back his original guilty plea.
‘Legally, he has pretty solid grounds to withdraw his plea if he wanted to because the plea was essentially uncounseled. and an uncounseled plea is a violation of the Constitution,’ Bates said.
As for Cabo, she’s charged with identity theft, two counts of forgery and one count of communications fraud, reports KTSU.
Source: Daily Mail