Man Posing as Lawyer, Arrested For Fraud
A Miami man has been arrest and put in jail on February 28, 2014. The conman had stolen somewhere around $100,000 from various victims. These victims were supposedly his clients as he was posing as a lawyer that dealt in immigration law.
Ronaldo Varela Melo, age 38, would offer services to undocumented immigrants and those on temporary Visas that were looking to find legal and permanent access as immigrants into the country. Melo would find himself in court facing some rather heavy charges. Those charges include grand theft and fraud while representing himself falsely as a qualified representative to practice law.
A handful of Melo’s victims filed complaints with the Florida Bar. This would trigger an investigation upon realizing that he was not licensed to practice law in Florida State. An arrest warrant was issued for Melo. In this warrant he was described as unlawfully misrepresenting himself as an attorney as well as engaging in extortion as a means to engage in theft. According to the warrant, Melo would demand additional fees from the aliens and then threaten them with violence and the risk of deportation should they not pay those fees.
It appears that Melo may have received some kind of notice about the warrant for arrest and/or the complaints. He apparently had packed his bags and some personal belongings and was driving away from his Broward County domicile. He was moving rather quickly and driving erratically when a Florida Highway Patrol Officer pulled Melo over in a routine traffic stop. After running a positive ID on Melo, the officer arrested him on the outstanding warrant that was issued. Melo was apprehended and allegedly en route to leave the country for his home country of Brazil.
The police report states that he stole nearly $100,000 from this fraudulent practice. Melo’s bond is now set at $690,000. He risks several thousands of dollars in fines and restitution as well as the possible deportation back to Brazil.
Anyone who has found themselves as victims of this crime or other crimes dealing with fraud and misrepresentation should seek legal counsel with a Miami fraud defense lawyer immediately.