Sikeston man pleads guilty to practicing law without license

Sikeston man pleads guilty to practicing law without license

SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - A Sikeston man has pleaded guilty to charges involving use of a false name and Missouri Bar number to practice law illegitimately.

Between January 2010 and January 2014, James Michael Arnold, 51, of Sikeston, allegedly participated in a scheme to defraud and obtain money from individuals, law firms, legal staffing businesses, and other businesses of more than $350,000, by saying that he was a licensed attorney.

Additionally, Arnold failed to file tax returns reporting the earnings from the illegal activity.

According to court documents, Arnold graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law, Kansas City, in July of 1992, but has never passed the Missouri Bar examination and has never been licensed to practice law in Missouri.

Arnold pleaded guilty to one felony count of mail fraud, one felony count of aggravated identity theft and one count of failure to file tax returns.

If convicted, Arnold could face 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000 for the mail fraud charge alone.

Sentencing has been set for April 7, 2016.

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