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Fake lawyer sentenced to 14 years

March 28, 2013 at 2:39 PM

LONDON, March 28 (UPI) -- A Canterbury, England, man who duped clients into thinking he was a lawyer was convicted on fraud charges and sentenced to 14 years in jail.

Giovanni di Stefano, 57, a former director of the Dundee football club, claimed to have ties to the late Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and serial killer Harold Shipman. He was convicted on 25 counts of deception, fraud and money laundering Wednesday, the BBC reported Thursday.

Testimony in the trial at London's Southwark Crown Court included evidence di Stefano fooled clients out of millions of pounds by presenting himself as a lawyer, despite having no legal qualifications or certifications in the United Kingdom, or in Italy, where he was born, the BBC said.

Judge Alistair McCreath noted, in sentencing, di Stefano did not seek out his victims. Instead, they came to him, but di Stefano nonetheless caused years of misery and frustration to his clients.

"Your victims were all desperate people...who were vulnerable," McCreath said.

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