Disbarred lawyer having trouble hiring an attorney

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 25, 2010

Disbarred attorney James Harvey Tipler, who is accused of bilking money from clients seeking help with immigration issues, is struggling to pay his own lawyer’s fees, The Northwest Florida Daily News reported Friday.

With his trial for racketeering and practicing law without a license set to begin in Florida Monday, Tipler appeared in court Thursday to seek a postponement.

Tipler, 59, told Okaloosa County Circuit Judge William Stone that his lawyer wants payment up front and he hasn’t been able to foot the bill.

Assistant State Attorney Russ Edgar, who is prosecuting Tipler, threatened to ask that his bond be revoked.

Edgar told Stone he believes Tipler is trying to raise money by using the same business plan that got him arrested in the first place.

Tipler is accused of operating an immigration business that advertises its ability to obtain items such as green cards, work visas, job placement and citizenship for immigrants.

Tipler “illegally obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars from more than 50 clients and associated persons” but did no work for them, according to a news release following his second arrest on racketeering charges.

Tipler was arrested for racketeering the first time in September 2009. He was arrested again in May on charges of racketeering and practicing law without a license.

Tipler, an Andalusia native, has been disbarred from practicing law in three states.

Stone granted Tipler’s request for a postponement Thursday, but told him he would not postpone it again.

-The Northwest Florida Daily News