Courtroom - Photo courtesy of Gorodenkoff on Shutterstock

A Lake Balboa man who pleaded no contest to practicing law without being a member of the State Bar after a prior conviction for the same crime was sentenced Wednesday to two years and eight months in state prison.

Efferin Deans, 56, pleaded no contest May 5 to one count each of practicing law without being a member of the State Bar after a prior conviction and grand theft by false representation, along with two counts of preparing false documentary evidence, according to Deputy District Attorney Ryann Jorban.

The criminal complaint filed against Deans last October alleged that he had prior convictions from 2010 for unlawful practice of law and 1999 for criminal threats — the latter of which he admitted as a prior strike.

Deans claimed to own The Law Offices of Deans & Associates in Canoga Park between January 2019 and September 2021 and allegedly filed court documents and appeared on the record as a licensed attorney, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

The State Bar of California announced last November that it had seized Deans’ practice, saying he had repeatedly and illegally misrepresented himself as an attorney to get thousands of dollars from unsuspecting clients.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge informed the Bar’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel last August that Deans appeared in court and held himself out as an attorney, according to the State Bar, which noted his prior conviction for practicing law without a State Bar license.

“The unauthorized practice of law presents a serious threat to some of the most vulnerable members of our communities,” State Bar Chief Trial Counsel George Cardona said in a statement last November.

“It also is a crime. The Office of Chief Trial Counsel is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to combat this threat.”

Deans has remained behind bars since his arrest last October, according to jail records.

A restitution hearing is set Oct. 18 in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.