South Jordan woman poses as attorney
January 2, 2015
Summit County Sheriff’s detectives arrested a 29-year-old South Jordan woman on Tuesday for fraudulently representing herself as an attorney in Summit County’s Third District Court.
Karla Carbo, 29, of South Jordan, was arrested on one count of identity theft, two counts of forgery and one count of communications fraud, according to a press release. Identity theft is a third-degree felony, which is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of up to five years and a $5,000 fine.
On Dec. 23, Carbo appeared in Summit County’s Third District Court under the name Karla Stirling to represent a suspect in a 2008 criminal case. Carbo, who is not a licensed attorney, used Stirling’s Utah State Bar id number and name to sign court documents.
The Summit County attorney’s office was later notified of Carbo’s fraudulent status after she appeared in court on the behalf of clients in both Draper and Tooele counties.
Sergeant Ron Bridge said there is no connection between the suspect and her victims. Carbo was retained through her practice in West Valley City.
Once Summit County detectives determined Carbo was misrepresenting herself, she was contacted by detectives. She voluntarily surrendered herself Tuesday, Dec. 30.
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"There are definitely individuals out there that want to impersonate authority," Captain Justin Martinez, with the Summit County Sheriff’s Department, said. "We had a situation where our suspect was using her position in the Latino community to prey upon and extort them for money. It’s a pretty ugly situation."
The suspect Carbo represented in Summit County had entered into a plea agreement with the County Attorney’s office, which is now void.
"She had a pre-arrangement with a county attorney’s office for a reduction from a felony to a misdemeanor," Martinez said. "That person’s case has now been turned back upside down again and they will have to find a real lawyer to potentially re-enter into another agreement."
According to Summit County Prosecutor Matt Bates "there were a couple of us in court at the time and I remember talking to someone about this case as it was happening. Both of us were looking at her and thinking she didn’t know what she was doing."
But Bates said he and other officials simply assumed she was a practicing attorney.
"If, in fact, she is purposely impersonating another attorney and misrepresenting herself, that is a really big deal," Bates said. "This person thought they were getting competent advice and even entered a guilty plea. I remember the client she was representing was someone who didn’t speak English very well.
"This has affected many people and something we have to take very seriously," he added.
Charges haven’t formally been filed against Carbo, but Bates said he expects charges to be brought forth by the end of the week.
Carbo remains incarcerated in the Summit County Jail on $25,000 bond and a court date has yet to be set.
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