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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has signed a law that will make it a felony to impersonate an attorney.
Under the law which doesn’t take effect until Nov. 1, 2013, a person convicted of impersonating a lawyer and causing more than $1,000 in damages could face a prison sentence of up to four years. Under current law, impersonating an attorney is a misdemeanor.
Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. (R-Merrick) sponsored the measure in the Senate.
“Someone who hires an attorney is paying and entrusting that attorney to carry out some of their most important personal and financial wishes, such as buying or selling their home or creating a will. Scam artists who pose as licensed attorneys and jeopardize these important matters should face tougher penalties,” Fuschillo said in a statement.
The Nassau County senator has been advocating for the law since 2005 when he was chairman of the Senate Consumer Protection Committee, an aide said.