Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Westminster Paralegal Charged with Posing as Attorney

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- A 47-year old Westminster paralegal has been charged with falsely representing himself as an attorney to clients. The paralegal, John Gerard Hedderman, took on civil cases relating to divorces, child custody, and bankruptcy.

He is being charged with two felony counts of grand theft, three counts of unauthorized practice of law, one count of second-degree commercial burglary and 10 felony counts of false impersonation. Hedderman faces up to 12 years and three months in prison if convicted. He is out of jail after posting $70,000 bail.

Prosecutors say Hedderman was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1988, but resigned in 2001 after facing a series of disciplinary actions. He worked as a paralegal between June 1, 2004 and Aug. 25, 2005, during which time, he represented himself as an attorney to clients whom he met through personal referrals, officials say.

Hedderman is also accused of forging clients' signatures, an employer's and another attorney's signature and filing those forged documents in court.

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