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A South Jordan woman accused of posing as a lawyer and who even negotiated a plea deal for one client pleaded guilty Friday to four of 12 felonies with which she was charged.
Karla Carbo, 30, pleaded guilty in 3rd District Court to second-degree felony counts of pattern of unlawful activity, identity fraud, communication fraud, and one third-degree felony count of forgery.
In exchange for her pleas, prosecutors dismissed eight other counts.
Sentencing is set for Sept. 4, at which time prosecutors will recommend that Judge Keith Kelly impose probation and 90 days in jail, with credit for time already served, according to a plea agreement document filed with the court.
As part of the plea deal, Carbo agreed to pay restitution of nearly $6,000 money she earned from engaging in work in the legal field, the court document states.
Prosecutors say Carbo had a law office in West Valley City and advertised legal services online, but has never been licensed to practice law in Utah. She represented five clients and charged them for services in criminal and divorce cases, authorities said.
Carbo used the name and bar number of Carla Stirling, a Utah State Bar-certified attorney whose practice is based in Bountiful, to avoid scrutiny and be allowed in the courtrooms in Salt Lake, Summit and Tooele counties, authorities said.
Summit County sheriff's Capt. Justin Martinez said after Carbo was arrested in December that her clients were mostly Hispanic immigrants.
The 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 on 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 used 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.