NEW YORK – A man who posed as a lawyer and investment adviser has been convicted of stealing nearly $6 million from his clients — after representing himself at the trial.
Mohammed Rafikian, also known as Mo Kian, of Queens, owed millions after losing money day trading, and he took over the practice of an ailing attorney as a way to solve his financial troubles, prosecutors said. He had worked as a paralegal but was not a lawyer.
In addition, Rafikian, defrauded eight clients of amounts ranging from $63,000 to $3.2 million. Acting as an investor, he took $3.2 million from a client and promised to invest it but never returned the money, the Queens district attorney's office said. He took $900,000 from another client under the guise of buying a building in Queens. He also received $816,000 for the purchase of a house and a bar, but the deal never took place and Rafikian never returned the money.
Rafikian was convicted Wednesday of first-degree larceny, second-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud, second-degree criminal impersonation and practicing or appearing as an attorney-at-law.
He faces up to 130 years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 21.