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Bogus Jailhouse Lawyer Sent to Prison for 4 Years

ST. LOUIS (CN) - A man who pretended to be a lawyer while representing prison inmates was sentenced to 4 years in federal prison. Jeffrey Tedrick scammed prison inmates for thousands of dollars and screwed up several appeals while claiming to be a lawyer, court records show. He was charged with three counts of mail fraud.

Judge Catherine Perry cited Tedrick's lifelong pattern of fraud and deceit in handing down the sentence. Judge Perry more than doubled the sentence from federal sentencing guidelines, which suggested a 21-27 month prison term.

Tedrick claimed that his troubles centered around a gambling addiction and that he wanted to change his life. But Perry cited 15 prior convictions since 1987 and said the damage was greater than the $22,890 that victims claim to have lost.

Tedrick's scam started while he was incarcerated at the Eastern Reception and Diagnostic Correction Center in Bonne Terre, Mo. During his time there, from Feb. 22, 2005 to Jan. 18, 2007, he developed a reputation as an effective jailhouse lawyer and falsely claimed he was an attorney who was disbarred due to gambling issues, court papers state.

One prisoner claimed his prison release was delayed for months and that he was taken for $16,000 because of Tedrick. Prosecutors say other inmates have lost cases or had appeal deadlines expire due to Tedrick's misrepresentations, and an inmate's sister testified that she lost everything when Tedrick represented her in a divorce case.


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