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Belleville, NJ man charged with theft by deception and unauthorized practice of law April 11, 2009

Posted by jefhenningeresq in News.
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Max Antoine, a Belleville, New Jersey man is accused of pretending to be an immigration attorney even though he is just a private detective.  He has allegedly been “practicing” out of a Bloomfield office since 2003.  The case was investigated by the Bloomfield Police Department, with help from the  Essex County Prosecutor’s Office economic crimes unit.

How many people he allegedly defrauded and whether or not these people can be located is not yet clear.   While the news story indicates that he is facing up to 15 years, I think he is looking at 3 to 5, with 3 being most likely.  As a result, he’ll actually do 9 months.  Of course, with a good attorney, he may be able to work out a deal to stay out of prison all together. 

However, the real problem for Antoine may be the theft charge.  It is one thing to pretend to be a lawyer to make money; it is another to pretend to steal money.  I am sure there are many people that either pretend to be lawyers or pretend to be immigration experts that prey on illegal or uneducated immigrants.  Of course, they are in a rather closed society so the rest of us rarely find out any of this.  On the other hand, there are some that really try to help them but they really have no formal training themselves so they probably give bad or incomplete advice. 

Thus, the theft charge makes it seem like Antoine is preying on uneducated immigrants which may make it more difficult to work out a good deal.  If I’m his attorney, the theft charge is my primary focus, at least to start with.

Story is here.

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Comments»

1. j - April 11, 2009

As a friend of this guy, I know that he has a license, but in New York. Doesn’t that count for something? And what if he was trying to help those immigrants, but they were too impatient to wait and complained that he wasn’t doing anything? He does help. I’ve seen it myself, it’s just that some of his clients think that they can get a green card in less than a day.

whitecollarcrimenews - April 11, 2009

If I’m his lawyer, you are my main character witness. The info you have needs to be developed and provided to the State in order to secure a good deal to keep him out of prison. I hope he gets a good attorney that knows how to perform a proper defense investigation.
jef

2. Anonymous - April 13, 2009

I hope he gets what he deserves! He should not have been trying to portray himself to be someone that he is not! It is said that he only has a license to practice private security and nothing else…but in fact he stated that he took care of real estate, immigration law and even credit repair from his office. Taking money from people and not complying with the initial agreement is just harsh and it took 3 years to catch him, so imagine how many people he possibly defrauded!


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