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The Utah attorney general's office is taking over the case of a woman accused of impersonating a lawyer.
Karla Carbo, 29, of South Jordan, was charged with felony and misdemeanor counts of identity fraud and forgery after she allegedly used the name and bar identification number of a Bountiful lawyer to pose as an attorney and represent clients in a Summit County courtroom.
Summit County prosecutors moved to dismiss the case Friday, stating in court papers that the state had filed a new case against Carbo, which includes her alleged actions in the Park City-area case.
State court records show the attorney general's office charged Carbo with 12 felony counts on Friday, although the documents detailing the 3rd District Court allegations are sealed. In a news release issued Monday afternoon, however, the attorney general's office claims Carbo is alleged to have offered fake legal services between July and December 2014, representing multiple clients in Salt Lake, Summit and Tooele counties.
"The charging documents allege Ms. Carbo defrauded the courts, members of the public and others with respect to her professional status as a scheme to obtain money from clients in the form of legal fees," the release states.
The new charges include one count each of second-degree felony engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity and identity fraud, along with five counts of second-degree felony communications fraud. The charges also include five counts of third-degree felony forgery, court records show.
Carbo's initial appearance on the new charges has been set for Wednesday at Salt Lake City's Matheson Courthouse. If convicted of the charges, she faces a punishment of up to 15 years in prison for each second-degree felony and up to five years in prison for each third-degree felony.
Carbo's attorney, Michael Langford, declined to comment on the new case Monday morning, saying he did not yet know the details of the state's allegations and had not had time to conduct his own investigation.
Langford did say Carbo, who is a mother of two and was allowed a pre-trial release in her Summit County case, had been arrested on Friday and remained in jail Monday.
The attorney general's office case alleges three times the number of charges as Summit County prosecutors had filed last year.
In the Summit County case, Carbo was arrested in December after allegedly impersonating Carla Stirling, a Utah State Bar-certified attorney, whose practice is based in Bountiful.
The alleged fraud was uncovered when a Draper Justice Court clerk contacted Stirling by email about a pending hearing, which left Stirling puzzled. She contacted the court, and then the state bar, which launched an investigation.
Court papers say Carbo appeared in a Park City-area courtroom Dec. 15, 2014, and aided a defendant in entering a plea agreement to criminal charges. Carbo signed the court documents with the name "Karla Stirling Fierro" and Stirling's bar number. She also charged the defendant, who found her through Facebook, $850 for her services, the documents state.
Bar officials notified Summit County prosecutors on Dec. 22, 2014, that "Karla Stirling Fierro" was not a licensed Utah attorney and that she appeared to be using another person's bar number.Stirling told police she did not know Carbo, who has never been a licensed to practice law in Utah.
Summit County prosecutors have never detailed a motive for Carbo's alleged impersonation and it is not clear how many individuals she may have represented in court. Investigators found Carbo was working from a West Valley City office and used the name "C.I. Law Group" on invoices.