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Phony Laywer Gets Stiff Sentence

February 1, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ A man who admitted he repeatedly posed as a lawyer to represent people facing criminal charges has been sentenced to more than three years in prison.

Paul C. Kurtz apologized at his sentencing Monday, but U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones said his regrets ``ring hollow″ and ordered him imprisoned for three years and five months, the maximum under sentencing guidelines.

Prosecutors cited scores of cases in which Kurtz allegedly held himself out to be a lawyer in federal courts and courts in Maryland. The cases mostly involved plea bargains rather than trials.

However, after courts and prosecutors were notified of his arrest, only one guilty plea in a case he represented was nullified and had to be renegotiated, Kurtz’s lawyer said.

``I really intended to help guys who were in trouble,″ Kurtz, 58, told the judge.

He pleaded guilty in June to credit card fraud and making false statements, which includes misrepresenting himself as a lawyer.

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