Disbarred or Rebarred? Defendant Arrested After Posing As Attorney While Waiting For His Own Plea Agreement

ArnoldKyle Arnold, 42, knows a thing or two about multitasking. Arnold was waiting to finalize his plea bargain for misdemeanor simple assault and reckless endangerment. He allegedly spotted the girlfriend of another defendant and decided to pose as an attorney and bilk her out of $1,300.


Arnold was out on a $75,000 bail when he spotted the girlfriend of the other defendant in a different case. He introduced himself as Arnold even though he reportedly has various aliases, including Joseph Capelli, Muhammad Khalil and Kyle Murphy.

He had the victim accompany him on a trolley to Philadelphia. Rather than take her to his “office,” he took her to the Municipal Services building and secured the money. He then said that he had to run to his office and would return shortly. He never came back. Police were able to identify Arnold and his probation officer was able to match a phone number given to the victim as Arnold’s.

The plea to the assault and reckless endangerment was meant avoid additional offenses for aggravated assault, harassment and disorderly conduct. That is not a bad deal but it may now be left in tatters with the addition of new charges. He has now been charged with unlawful undertaking, theft, and receiving stolen property.

AR-150229601.jpg&maxh=400&maxw=667To make matters worse, police located Arnold outside of the Delaware County Courthouse speaking with a woman at the courthouse for her son. She told police that he had introduced himself as an attorney. It is remarkably bold to return to the same courthouse with the same con.

What is most notable is the absence of a criminal charge for unauthorized practice of law:

Title 42 – JUDICIARY AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE
Chapter 25 – Representation of Litigants
2524 – Penalty for unauthorized practice of law.

§ 2524. Penalty for unauthorized practice of law.
(a) General rule.–Except as provided in subsection (b), any person, including, but not limited to, a paralegal or legal assistant, who within this Commonwealth shall practice law, or who shall hold himself out to the public as being entitled to practice law, or use or advertise the title of lawyer, attorney at law, attorney and counselor at law, counselor, or the equivalent in any language, in such a manner as to convey the impression that he is a practitioner of the law of any jurisdiction, without being an attorney at law or a corporation complying with 15 Pa.C.S. Ch. 29 (relating to professional corporations), commits a misdemeanor of the third degree upon a first violation. A second or subsequent violation of this subsection constitutes a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Even without this charge, Arnold is looking at a no-option case where prosecutors would seem unlikely to be interested in another plea bargain. There is however always work for a motivated jailhouse lawyer.

12 thoughts on “Disbarred or Rebarred? Defendant Arrested After Posing As Attorney While Waiting For His Own Plea Agreement”

  1. Isaac, I use ethnic aliases undercover to assist in bonding w/ a source[s]. So, you nailed it w/ this guy’s ploy. I can be Greek, Hispanic, Jew, and a few other ethnicities when called upon. I am SOL in the Asian, African, northern European. But, the best ethnicity in bonding w/ folks is having a vowel @ the end of your name. Folks love us Italians.

  2. TJustice

    It also doesn’t help society when prosecutors give passes to individuals who should be charged with the unlawful practice of law. As I am sure you are aware, there are very specific statutes of limitation which apply to various areas of the law, and this individual’s antics could have done far more damage than just take some money from the pockets of his victims. The fact that he was stopped before any real damage could occur is irrelevant. Failing to file documentation, for example, with regard to a legal matter, by a certain specific set of time deadlines, can mean that one is barred from ever doing so in that case. As you can imagine, there can be disastrous results when one poses as an attorney and fails to properly protect his supposed client. Would you want someone posing as a physician to be prosecuted? I would. Cages? I’d put the abovementioned guy in a cage with another convicted lawyer. That seems like a fitting punishment.

  3. “It has been my observation that sometimes prosecutors don’t think outside the box when it comes to crimes that are not ordinarily prosecuted through their office.”

    Good lord, you don’t need any creativity with our system and current rule-of-law. You not aware of our prison population over the past four decades? Maybe throwing people in cages doesn’t help society much, just maybe.

  4. I am intrigued by his aliases. Murphy, Capelli, and Kallil, this guy can be Irish, Italian, Islamic, or just plain old Arnold. He was working on something here. “Your name is O’Reilly, why I’m Kyle Murphy from County Cork.” “Mrs. Spinelli, why I’m Joseph Capelli, you know from the old country.” Where are my pajamas?

  5. Regarding the lack of an unauthorized practice of law count in the complaint. Apparently, attorneys not only protect their own, they protect their imposters as well.

  6. Regarding the unauthorized practice of law; perhaps bilking a ‘client’ out of $1,300 didn’t strike them as egregious; maybe he negotiated his own deal and is doing some consulting work.

  7. You have got to give the guy points for trying to achieve the American Dream.

  8. Darren

    Lol. We posted at the same time. Your guess is as good as any. Perhaps proving the unauthorized practice of law, in his particular case, may not have been so clear cut. The article does not go into enough detail as to what was said to his prospective clients, including his representations and offers pertaining to legal work. That may have driven the decision to avoid listing the charge.

  9. Anyone have any clue as to why a criminal charge for the unauthorized practice of law was not tacked on to his various offenses? Doesn’t make any sense to me. Why leave this off his list of alleged violations? Maybe they ran out of ink.

  10. “What is most notable is the absence of a criminal charge for unauthorized practice of law:
    ~+~

    It has been my observation that sometimes prosecutors don’t think outside the box when it comes to crimes that are not ordinarily prosecuted through their office. This type of case might be one of them and it was either overlooked or one that they felt more comfortable with in charging a ‘regular’ type of crime that would give provide for enough punishment to satisfy.

  11. Reminds me of my former Husband. Seriously Does. lol 😉 Some people have all the nerve.

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