John B. Kennedy accused of practicing law without a license for second time

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ABC13's Jessica Willey looks at what could happen next to clients who sought legal help from a man accused of being a fake attorney.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office is asking possible victims of a man accused of pretending to be an attorney to come forward.

John B. Kennedy, 73, was arrested Thursday morning at his office on F.M. 1960 in northwest Harris County. He was on parole after being convicted in 2012 for the same thing.

After his arrest, officers with Houston Police Department's Major Offenders Division seized boxes of files, along with signs advertising legal services. Sources tell Eyewitness News that Kennedy practiced law out of the office, blatantly solicited clients and may have accumulated hundreds.

"What a nightmare, right? Because I can't even pretend to imagine what happened to all the cases he initiated," said Steve Shellist, a criminal defense attorney not involved in the case.

The sign outside the office where Kennedy was arrested advertises representation for divorce, personal injury, auto accidents, crimes and insurance claims.

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Kennedy was convicted and sent to prison in August 2012 to serve a 10-year sentence for "falsely holding oneself as an attorney." He was paroled on Aug. 6, 2015. His parole was scheduled to end August 2021.

In June, Kennedy was accused by a client of running a scam for money, and when a Harris County Sheriff's deputy was called to the office, court records say Kennedy claimed to be the secretary and gave a fake name.

State Bar of Texas records show a John B. Kennedy was disbarred in 1993. Shellist suggests always doing research before hiring a lawyer.

"If you're fishy or even before you get fishy, you just type their name in, very simple, and it will tell you whether they have a license. If they've ever been disciplined by the State Bar, suspended, currently suspended. In this case, if someone had run his name, it wouldn't have shown up. That would have been clue number one," explained Shellist.

Kennedy is currently in a HPD jail. Charges against him are pending.

Possible victims are being urged to contact the Harris County District Attorney's Office Consumer and Financial Crimes Division at 713-274-5555.

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