Woman sentenced for setting up fake law firms
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida woman accused of setting up two fake law firms and pretending to be an attorney has been sentenced to four years and six months in prison.
Roberta Guedes, 41, was sentenced Wednesday in Tampa federal court, according to court records. She pleaded guilty last year to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. She was also ordered to pay $14,318 in restitution to her victims.
According to court documents, Guedes graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 2014 but twice failed the Florida Bar exam. Despite never being licensed to practice law, Guedes incorporated two fake law firms and set up offices in downtown Tampa. She took on multiple client-victims, representing them in immigration proceedings and family law matters.
On some occasions, Guedes impersonated a law school classmate who wasn’t involved Guedes’s sham law firms, officials said. After the Florida Bar began investigating Guedes, she falsified and filed documents to undermine and discredit that investigation.