Newport Beach man posing as a lawyer to defraud clients convicted



A Newport Beach man was sentenced Friday morning for posing as a lawyer to defraud clients with debt consolidation schemes and mortgage modifications.

James Frank Barker, 61, was sentenced to four years with a suspended sentence, which means Barker will be on probation for three years. If he violates probation, he will be sent to state prison for four years. Last year, Barker pleaded guilty to over 20 criminal charges including theft on a large scale, money laundering from criminal activities, and forgery.

Barker was also charged with two petty thefts.

At first he begged not guilty at the time of his arrest in 2017.

Prosecutors said Barker posed as a lawyer between December 2013 and July 2015 to attract clients with promises to consolidate their debts and reduce mortgage payments by changing the loan. None of these services were provided, and Barker allegedly did not return the money after not doing so.

During this time, prosecutors said Barker collected a total of $ 45,600 from three pairs of clients and did not notify their creditors that he would represent them.

The Barker investigation began in 2015 after the Orange County District Attorney’s Office received a tip from an attorney representing two of Barker’s clients.

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