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Fake attorney pleads not guilty
December 06, 2012, 05:00 AM Daily Journal Staff Report

John Hedderman

A paralegal who prosecutors say made a habit of impersonating a very-real attorney appeared in court yesterday in his own case, pleading not guilty to 13 felonies connected to a San Mateo County appeal for which he was reportedly paid more than $1,000 by a man trying to withdraw a plea.

John Hedderman, 52, will stand trial March 4 on the charges which include several counts of practicing law without a license, grand theft, false impersonation and threats. Meanwhile, he remains free from custody on $50,000 bail.

Hedderman was once a licensed attorney in California but resigned in 2001 with charges pending after several incidents of ineligibility to practice law.

However, prosecutors say in February he represented himself as an attorney named Donald Welch when he met client Ruben Bisceglia in Southern California who wanted help withdrawing a plea of no contest to possessing stolen property in San Mateo County. Hedderman worked as a paralegal for the real Welch who practices in Southern California. Bisceglia reportedly paid Hedderman more than $1,000 in fees for three appearances in San Mateo County Superior Court between March and August 2012.

When a San Mateo County prosecutor attempted to contact the real Welch, authorities learned of the alleged local misrepresentation and that he was convicted of 12 felonies in Orange County for falsely representing himself as an attorney.

Hedderman stipulated to misconduct in four cases including failure to perform competently, refund unearned fees and communicate with clients and pay court-ordered sanctions or cooperate with the bar’s investigation, according to the State Bar of California.

Hedderman faces between seven and eight years incarceration if convicted.



Tags: hedderman, county, mateo, attorney, california, court,

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