By Naeisha Rose
Kenneth Moore from Glendale was accused last week of taking a page from the film “Catch Me If You Can” by allegedly pretending to be a wrongful conviction lawyer for four years and maintaining a Brooklyn office in Bushwick while getting paid between $5,000 to $15,000 from 18 prison inmates and their families across the country.
Moore, 53, was charged in a 75-count indictment of grand larceny, scheme to defraud, unauthorized practice of a profession, criminal possession of a forged instrument, forgery, false instrument filing and criminal mischief, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
“This case is especially reprehensible to me because in Brooklyn we have a robust Conviction Review Unit that takes wrongful conviction claims seriously,” Gonzalez said.
The Queens man allegedly started his office back in 2011 and created the website www.waymorepostconviction.com as a way to target inmates, particularly those facing long sentences in return for his legal services, despite not having a license to practice law, the DA said. “This defendant allegedly took advantage of [the Conviction Review Unit’s] exemplary work by targeting vulnerable victims and exploiting the hope of inmates and their families that they might be released from custody,” he said.
Gonzalez had his company, Waymore Post-Conviction, located at 10 Goodwin Place from 2011 to 2016 and claimed to be capable of filing court documents, requesting new trials, obtaining sentence reductions and offering legal services to incarcerated individuals, the DA said.
Moore represented 18 inmates who were either serving lengthy sentences or facing life in prison for murder, manslaughter and other serious crimes and sent them certified letters offering to file post-conviction motions on their behalf, Gonzalez said.
The inmates were from New York, North Carolina, Kansas, Virginia and other states, according to the indictment.
One inmate even rejected an out-of-state Innocence Project request for defense services after Moore allegedly persuaded him and his family to obtain his legal services instead.
Moore’s alleged victims were told to contact him and have their families set up a payment plan for contractual services ranging from $5,000 to $15,000, but more often than not fell in the $10,000 range. The families were required to pay 80 percent of the contract upfront.
He allegedly filed two fraudulent briefs with the forged signature of an actual attorney and did no work for the remaining 16 inmates, according to the indictment.
Moore was also accused of requiring fees for expert witnesses, but the money only went to his pocket, according to the DA.
After Moore was paid for his legal services, he would stop updating the families and inmates about their cases and change his phone number, Gonzalez said.
Moore faces up to seven years in prison if found guilty and was held on bail of $300,000 bond or $150,000 cash and ordered to return to court on May 16.
Victims of Moore are being asked to contact the DA’s office at (718) 250-2600.
“He has now been exposed as an alleged con man and I urge anyone else who believes they have been victimized by him to contact my office,” said Gonzalez.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose