SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A 30-year-old Sacramento man is charged with bilking a Santa Clara County couple of $535,000 by pretending to be a lawyer.
Federal prosecutors said Thursday that a federal grand jury indicted Derek Bluford on five counts of wire fraud and money laundering.
Bluford owned California Legal Pros, offering legal services to rental property owners.
Prosecutors say he told the couple he was an attorney and that they had to pay numerous fines and court costs to repair their rental property in Discovery Bay, in Contra Costa County.
In fact, prosecutors say there were no costs and Bluford kept all but $5,000 of the money. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
Bluford pleaded not guilty Wednesday. Defense attorney Cyrus Zal did not return messages seeking comment.