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Man without license acted as attorney for 15 years

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Posted at 2:18 PM, Dec 16, 2014
and last updated 2015-12-11 14:18:54-05

A Hamburg man now admits that over the past 15 years, he worked as an attorney in New York State even though he didn’t have a license to do so.

Dennis McGrath was paid more than $160,000 representing indigent clients for the Erie County Bar Association Aid to Indigent Prisoners’ Society. Between 2001 and 2013, the 57-year-old Hamburg man acted as assigned counsel for criminal defendants who couldn’t afford their own lawyer.

McGrath pleaded guilty Tuesday to second degree larceny and unauthorized practice of law. He faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced in March.

It is unclear what will happen to his former clients, or if McGrath will have to pay restitution for to taxpayers, who fund the assigned counsel program.