MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A man is behind bars for allegedly posing as an immigration lawyer in Florida, stealing about $100,000 from various victims.
Ronaldo Varela Melo, 38, was in bond court Friday facing charges of grand theft, fraud, and misrepresenting self as qualified to practice law.
Florida Highway Patrol arrested Melo on Thursday after he was caught allegedly attempting to leave to his home country of Brazil.
Police say he stole about $100,000 from victims while posing as an immigration lawyer.
Various victims filed complaints to the Florida Bar about Melo which triggered an investigation, leading them to find out he was not licensed to practice law in the State of Florida.
According to his arrest warrant, Melo, “unlawfully misrepresented himself as an attorney in order to engage in theft by deception against aliens in Florida and engaged in extortionary tactics by demanding additional fees while threatening victims with violence and/or deportation.”
His bond is set at $690,000.