Florida

He pretended to be a lawyer — and now he could face jail time, jury decides

Kenneth Frank
Kenneth Frank Broward Sheriff's Office

Over a span of three years, Kenneth Frank filed legal documents in foreclosure, real estate, eviction and other similar cases for his “clients.”

But Frank, of Pompano Beach, was pretending to be a lawyer and “not authorized” to practice, a Broward County jury determined this week during a two-day trial.

The 56-year-old, who had previously been convicted of insurance fraud, was found guilty Wednesday of 16 felony charges including one count of organized scheme to defraud and five counts of fraudulently simulating legal process.

Frank, who has been in a Broward County jail since his arrest in March 2017, could face more than 11 years in prison. His sentencing hearing has not yet been set.

Court documents show that between July 5, 2012, and January 2, 2015, Frank banked more than $20,000 by “false or fraudulent pretenses.” Investigators also said Frank “willfully pretended to be” a lawyer even though he wasn’t qualified and not a member of the Florida Bar.

In at least one case, documents show, he “prepared and then directed” a client to file a fraudulent $1 million lien. In another case, he instructed a client to file a fraudulent lien as a “retaliatory measure.”

This is not the first time the fake lawyer has had a run-in with the law. In 1996, he was sentenced to five years’ probation for insurance fraud in New York, records show. In 2003, he was convicted of grand larceny, also in New York. In that case, he was sentenced to 18 months to three years in prison. It’s not clear how long he served. Then in 2004, he was sentenced to three to six years in prison for a drug charge, records show.

In court, Frank’s attorney, David Wheeler, argued that his client never identified himself as a lawyer and that he sought a legal opinion to review documents, the Sun Sentinel reported.

Wheeler could not be reached Thursday for comment.

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.
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