A Pasadena man who falsely claimed to be a licensed attorney was sentenced Friday to more than four years in federal prison on fraud charges stemming from his representation of purported clients in federal and state courts.

Kenneth Paul Ferreyro, 37, was also convicted of tax offenses for seeking well over $100,000 in refunds on federal tax returns that falsely claimed substantial payroll taxes had been withheld and remitted to the Internal Revenue Service, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

U.S. District Judge John F. Walter imposed the sentence, calling Ferreyro’s criminal conduct “absolutely despicable.” In addition to the 50-month federal prison term, Walter ordered Ferreyro to pay $190,887 in restitution to the IRS.

Following a four-day trial in Los Angeles federal court in April, the jury deliberated for about two hours before convicting Ferreyro of four counts of wire fraud and four counts of making false claims on his tax returns.

Evidence presented at trial showed that from at least 2010 to 2017, Ferreyro told people — most of whom were affiliated with his father’s church — that he could represent them in U.S. Bankruptcy Court and other courts and could perform work related to real estate refinancing and tax liens. While Ferreyro did graduate from law school, he never received a license to practice law, prosecutors said.

In relation to several victims, Ferreyro prepared and filed bankruptcy petitions in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Phoenix. In the Central District of California, Ferreyro concealed his participation by claiming that the victims were filing on their own behalf, federal prosecutors said.

Ferreyro also represented a person in a child support dispute in a state court in Idaho, and he charged another person $5,000 based on false claims he could remove federal tax liens so the victim could refinance a residence, according to court records.

Ferreyro, who at times described himself as a tax attorney, also defrauded the government by making false claims on tax returns he filed for the years 2013 through 2016. Ferreyro submitted tax returns to the IRS which falsely stated that he and his wife had already paid substantial amounts of payroll taxes and he fraudulently sought refunds totaling $126,826, some of which was paid by the IRS, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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