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Lawyer Impersonates Friend to Collect More Money from Disabled Veterans: Is Convicted
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convicted of impersonation

Summary: A lawyer must serve nine months for impersonating a friend to double the fees from disabled veterans.

Far be it for lawyers to be duplicitous, but one Solon lawyer has been convinced of just that, of impersonating a friend so as to double charge the disabled Army veteran under his care, and for this was sentenced for nine months prison this Wednesday by Common Pleas Judge Pamela Barker.

  
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Gary Bakst, 60, pleaded guilty to identity fraud and tampering with records in December.

Cuyahoga County Probate Court bars attorneys from collective fees as both legal guardian and lawyer to disabled veterans, something which Bakst regarded as “stupid,” and did it anyway, as reported by a Cuyahoga County assistant prosecutor.

Friends and family nevertheless flocked to offer their witness of Bakst’s good moral character with siblings, colleagues, and ex-wife praising him. The ex-wife admitted she was disappointed with her former husband’s behavior, but said he was a support in her life and a good parent.

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Robin Tilley Bakst, who worked alongside Bakst at his pharmacy, spoke of “all the good” he did for the pharmacy and for the community.

Bakst himself told the judge he was “absolutely sorry” for his inexcusable actions, and that he could potentially lose his law and pharmacy licenses, his second wife, and the friendship of Paul Silver, the man he impersonated to collect more money.



“How do I get my reputation back?” asked Silver, who was close to Bakst, standing as best man in both his weddings. “How do I get my good name back? He has taken that from me.”

“Cuyahoga County has seen an unfortunate trend of attorneys who think they are above the law,” said Meyer to the judge. He also pointed out Bakst had collected $15,300 in attorney fees that he had no right to collect.

Bakst was sentenced to two nine month sentences that will be served concurrently. His sentence begins April 6.



 

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