With a background in burglary and shoplifting, Tahir Malik realized he was on the wrong side of the law. So, the 47-year-old decided to be a lawyer, but skipped the whole law school thing.
The Skokie resident was charged with two counts of falsely impersonating a lawyer in January after he had posed as an attorney for more than five years. On Monday, Malik received a 2-year sentence from Cook County Judge Dennis Porter.
Malik's scheme took a bad turn when the courthouse staff in Skokie grew suspicious of his behavior . When questioned about his credentials, court officials realized that Malik wasn't licensed to practice law.
The wannabe lawyer had been working on more than 60 cases at the time, according to the Cook County Sheriff's Office.
Many of the cases Malik worked on were low-level crimes such as traffic violations and thefts. He also worked on mortgage cases, charging clients from $500-$4,500, according to the sheriff's department.
His father, Rahim Malik, doesn't believe the charges against his son are true, despite the younger Malik having been convicted of burglary several years ago.
"They are lying," he told Skokie Patch. "He had no job and he was depending on me, living with me. He's only been counseling [friends and relatives] for a few months, not five years."
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart thinks otherwise.
"The audacity of this, the breadth of it, is amazing," . "Here's a guy that spent time in the penitentiary and is now walking into a courtroom, into the lion's den, and passing himself as a lawyer.
"From his own arrest history, he was familiar enough with the court system to make certain motions and file certain documents in the court," Dart said of the case earlier this year. "There is no question that dozens of people from all over Cook County were misled by this guy."