This Does Not Help the Profession’s Image

It is disappointing and frustrating to read so often of paralegals involved in fraudulent schemes with their attorneys. In the minds of many members of the public each such incident tends to counterbalance dozens of instances of service by paralegals to the community and the legal system. Here is one from Massachusetts reported at In this case, unlike another mortgage fraud case discussed here, the paralegal appears to be a major participant if the facts alleged are true:

A Worcester, Mass. grand jury indicted an Oxford, Mass. attorney and three accomplices late last week for a complicated scheme to defraud desperate homeowners facing foreclosure and mortgage lenders in real estate transactions involving distressed properties following an investigation by the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Named in the indictments handed down September 28 were Allen Seymour, 41, and Raymond A. Desautels III, 43, both of Oxford; and Jason Passell, 51, and Judith Piette, 44, both of Worcester.

Seymour faces multiple counts of forgery, uttering, inducing a lender to part with property and larceny. Desautels, a former real estate lawyer, now disbarred, is facing multiple counts of inducing a lender to part with property; Passell, a real estate paralegal, is charged with forgery and multiple counts of uttering; and Ms. Piette, a notary public, faces multiple counts of filing a false written report by a public officer.

The scheme itself is complicated and the details do not matter much to the point here, but you can read them by clicking the link above.

One wonders on what basis this man was qualified as a “real estate” paralegal. On the one hand, it seems to lend credence to the argument for licensing and regulation. On the other hand, the attorney was regulated and was still part of the scheme.

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