An Edgartown man has been charged for the second time in the last month with illegally practicing law and taking money from a client.
John C. McBride, 62, was arraigned last Friday in Edgartown district court on charges of larceny over $250, removed attorney practicing law and unauthorized practice of law. Not guilty pleas were entered and a pretrial hearing was set for Nov. 21.
Mr. McBride, a disbarred lawyer, was charged earlier this month with representing an Edgartown man in an insurance claim. He is alleged to have accepted a settlement check made out to the man, forged his signature and kept the check in his own account for weeks without telling him.
Mr. McBride has asserted that he was only helping a friend, always intended to pay the money to the man, and has asked the court to dismiss all the charges.
In the latest case, Anderson Oliveira, 21, of Oak Bluffs, says he paid more than $3,300 to Mr. McBride because he feared he would face possible criminal charges stemming from a March traffic accident in Providence, R.I. After the accident, Mr. Oliveira was found in an adjacent yard looking for help and appeared to be intoxicated, according to police.
Mr. Oliveira said he was a passenger, not the driver, and was later released by Rhode Island state police. He was never charged with a criminal offense, according to an Edgartown police investigation, which concluded there was no reason for legal representation.
“I believe that McBride not only purported himself as a legitimate attorney, but took advantage of a young adult who was under the impression that he was in legal trouble,” said Det. Sgt. Chris Dolby in documents filed with the court.
In a phone interview, Mr. McBride said he will ask the court to dismiss the most recent charges as well. He said he neither held himself out as a lawyer nor took money for services he didn’t perform.
“You don’t have to be a lawyer to do what I did for him,” Mr. McBride said.