FARMINGTON — A West Bountiful man is facing fraud charges in Davis and Salt Lake counties after he allegedly posed as an attorney in Weber County and took retainer money from a client.
Robert Sinclair Argyle, 34, was charged November in a Davis County court with single counts of identity fraud, forgery and theft, all third-degree felonies. On Thursday, Argyle was charged in a Salt Lake County court with one count of forgery and four counts of communication fraud, all felonies.
Police in Salt Lake County allege that Argyle applied to a job at a Weber County law firm that called for a licensed attorney. Included in his application was a resume that said he graduated from law school at Stanford University in California, and that he was licensed to practice law in both California and Utah.
Argyle was hired by the Weber County law firm — which is not named in charging documents — and was assigned to cases. For one case, a client paid Argyle a $2,500 retainer fee for his work on a case. In March, Argyle appeared at Ogden’s 2nd District Juvenile Court in connection with the legal matter.
After submitting a protective order to the court, a clerk noticed errors and ultimately found that the signatures of two judges had been forged.
Later the Utah State Bar was contacted and confirmed that Argyle was not licensed to practice law in Utah or California. In June, a representative from Stanford University told investigators that they did not have an academic record for Argyle.
Police went to Argyle’s office in Bountiful to interview him on Aug. 1, but he reportedly declined. On Aug. 20, police came back with search warrants for Argyle’s office, home and vehicle. “Agents seized computers, cell phones, and documents,” according to the charging documents. Officers also found that Argyle had recently secured attorney jobs involving other clients.
Police later found that Argyle had previously been employed at a Salt Lake County law firm for a brief time with an annual salary of $175,000. However, he was quickly terminated after the firm discovered that Argyle reportedly “lacked verifiable legal education and law experience.”
Investigators also found a Salt Lake County business paid Argyle $2,000 for legal work.
Charging documents from the Davis County case allege that Argyle and his wife fraudulently applied for a lease to get a home in Farmington. Police allege that Argyle wrote a check for $3,800 connected to a trust fund account he was not authorized to use. His wife also allegedly went under a different name in order to secure the lease, police say. Argyle’s wife also allegedly used a fake driver’s license to pose as another woman.
Because Argyle is facing felony charges in more than one case, he is being held without bail. As of Friday evening, he was being held at the Davis County Jail.
Argyle’s next court appearance in Farmington’s 2nd District Court is scheduled for Dec. 18. For his charges in Salt Lake County, his next court appearance is slated to take place Jan. 13, 2020. He does not have an attorney listed in either court docket.