NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Authorities have arrested a 63-year-old minister accused of giving criminal suspects legal advice without actually having a license to practice law.
The North Charleston Police Department arrested David Lee Edward Mitchell on Tuesday and charged him bank fraud and practicing law without a license. It all started when police arrested Mitchell in reference to a bank fraud charge.
Authorities say the suspect took nearly $2000 from a woman in the summer of 2010 using a fictitious organization.
When authorities arrested Mitchell, they say evidence found at the suspect's home led detectives to believe that he may have been visiting inmates and providing legal counsel to them without a license.
A subsequent investigation found that Mitchell had provided legal counsel to at least three people under the guise that he was a paralegal.
According to police, a suspected cocaine trafficker arrested in May of 2010 sought out Mitchell's legal advice and paid him $300. Police say Mitchell told the man not to plead guilty and said that his public defender was just trying to get him to plead guilty.
Another victim told authorities she had responded to an ad in a paper, placed by Mitchell, that could help her with a home ownership situation that her brother was facing.
A police report states that Mitchell drafted a contract for his legal services in which the victim's brother was to pay a $1500 retainer fee and $85/hour or $300 per month after that.
The victim said he paid $1500 and $300 for the first month and then realized that Mitchell was not really accomplishing anything and stopped paying him.