SAN DIEGO - An Oceanside man pleaded guilty this week in a scheme to defraud clients of a Carlsbad law firm who were seeking to repair their credit histories, authorities said.
Eric Dean Phillips, 58, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court before Magistrate Judge Nita L. Stormes to one count of mail fraud, according to the Office of the U.S. Attorney Southern District of California. He was scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 24 to 20 years in prison, $250,000 in fines and three years of supervised release.
Phillips helped create the Georggin Law Firm in Carlsbad in 2010 and told clients he had been an attorney with the firm for 34 years, even though he is not an attorney and not licensed to practice law in any state, authorities said.
With his guilty plea, Phillips admitted Georggin defrauded more than 250 clients using such false claims as a 100 percent success rate and a money back guarantee. He also admitted that he personally pocketed $250,000 from the scheme.
The firm purported to provide credit repair services to clients who were attempting to purchase homes after a short sale or foreclosure by filing lawsuits in small claims court that would lead to the blemishes being removed from their credit histories.
According to the State Bar of California, an attorney nominally affiliated with the firm, Ernest George Georggin, agreed to surrender his law license and pay restitution to certain clients.