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Man Passes Himself Off As a Lawyer in San Mateo County Court

The man even charged his 'client' $1,000 for his fraudulent services.

A man who misrepresented himself as an attorney in San Mateo County court will soon face trial on 13 felony counts.

John Hedderman, 52, of Stanton, who was disbarred in California in 2000, reportedly stole the identify of a Southern California attorney named Donald Welch in order to take on a client, charge him attorney's fees, and actually represent him in San Mateo County court.

According to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office this week, Hedderman met a man named Ruben Bisceglia in Southern California last year. Knowing Bisceglia was seeking an attorney to represent him in a case he had pending in San Mateo County Court, Hedderman introduced himself to Bisceglia as "Donald Welch" - a Southern California attorney he had once worked for as a paralegal.

Hedderman took Bisceglia on as his client, even appearing on his behalf in San Mateo County court on three separate occasions between March and August of 2012.

Hedderman reportedly charged Bisceglia roughly $1,000 for his fraudulent attorney services.

However, his deception eventually caught up with him when Deputy District Attorney Sharon Cho looked up contact information for Donald Welch in order to ask him a question about victim restitution ordered in Bisceglia's case - and she ended up contacting the real Donald Welch.

When the real Donald Welch told Cho he did not represent any clients by the name of Ruben Bisceglia, and that knew nothing about his case, Hedderman's identity theft was uncovered.

In fact, the real Donald Welch, an attorney in Southern California, had never even been to San Mateo County.

Kevin Raffaelli, inspector for the San Mateo County DA's Office, then launched an investigation, during which he discovered that Hedderman had previously been convicted on 12 felony counts in Orange County for misrepresenting himself as an attorney in order to represent a client in a family law dispute case in 2008.

Hedderman appeared in San Mateo County Court earlier this week to face charges. His trial is set to begin on March 4.

Hedderman is currently out of custody on $50,000 bail.

What do you think of John Hedderman's crimes? What do you think his punishment should be? Tell us your opinion in the comments below.

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Stacie Chan (Editor) February 21, 2013 at 09:53 PM
You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried...
JTB February 22, 2013 at 06:40 AM
The first thing that would have tipped me off that this wasn't a real lawyer was that he only charged $1,000. A lawyer won't even say "Hello" to you for that paltry sum!

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