Jury convicts man of impersonating a lawyer

February 9, 2010

A man accused of impersonating a lawyer is going to need one to appeal his conviction today on attempted theft and perjury charges.

An 8-woman, 4-man jury took just over 3 hours to find Scott Anthony Whatcott guilty on all counts, which also included impersonation, offering a false instrument and trying to influence a public official.

He faces a potential sentence of probation to six years in prison when 4th Judicial District Judge David Shakes sentences him April 13. Whatcott, 35, said the verdict will be appealed.

“I respect the jury’s decision and I expect that we’ll see where the appeals process falls out,” he said outside the courtroom.

The verdict capped a 6-day trial in which Whatcott’s defense attorney argued that his client never tried to deceive anyone. Whatcott is a graduate of Georgetown Law School and passed the California bar exam, but never claimed to be a licensed attorney in Colorado, said Deputy Public Defender Roger Lucas.

“It was a hard-fought trial and I think we put on the best case we could,” Lucas said. “I think there are issues that can be appealed.”

Prosecutors hammered away at a foreclosure case in which they said Whatcott claimed attorney’s fees. They also pointed out that Whatcott used the word “esquire” after his name in a billing statement and used the abbreviation “atty” in his e-mail address.

“I’m thrilled with the jury’s verdict,” said Senior Deputy District Attorney Robyn Cafasso. “They obviously took it very seriously.”

Cafasso, who oversees the district attorney’s economic crimes unit, said that while her office comes across many cases involving people offering false instruments in foreclosure proceedings, she could not recall many where the defendant also was accused of pretending to be a lawyer.

For more court coverage, go to the Sidebar blog at Gazette.com.

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