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Man Accused of Practicing Law Without a License, Bilking Immigrant Clients

Michael John Hernandez, 53, is charged with six felony counts of grand theft of personal property and one felony count of perjury by declaration, along with two misdemeanor counts of unauthorized practice of law.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

A Hacienda Heights man accused of practicing law without a license and bilking immigrant clients out of thousands of dollars pleaded not guilty today to nine criminal charges.

Michael John Hernandez, 53, is charged with six felony counts of grand theft of personal property and one felony count of perjury by declaration, along with two misdemeanor counts of unauthorized practice of law, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Hernandez -- who previously practiced law in Florida -- has never been a member of the State Bar of California, but maintained a law office in Hacienda Heights, where he specialized in immigration matters, according to prosecutors.

The alleged crimes involved four victims and occurred between Jan. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2013, with a loss of about $16,000 attributed to Hernandez, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Hernandez is due back in Los Angeles Superior Court June 9, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.

If convicted, Hernandez faces up to 10 years behind bars, according to the District Attorney's Office.

—City News Service

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