November 13, 2006
Springfield, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon has filed criminal charges against a Springfield man who Nixon says knowingly defrauded at least four individuals into paying him over $38,000 for legal services even though the defendant was not licensed to practice law.
Nixon charged Alton Louis Vaughn Sr. (DOB- 8/17/56) with four counts of unlawful merchandising practices fraud in connection with his providing legal services between March 2003 and May 2006. Vaughn, who often referred to himself with the title “Bishop” Vaughn, turned himself in to local law enforcement authorities this morning.
The probable cause statement filed with the charges alleges that the defendant misrepresented that he was able to practice law and provide legal services to residents of southwest Missouri and northern Arkansas through Pro Se Help International, an organization he founded. Vaughn would repeatedly demand additional payments from his clients while claiming to represent them, fail to complete work on the cases and then neglect to refund payments made to him by those clients, the statement alleges.
Nixon says Vaughn's alleged victims included:
A preliminary hearing in the Vaughn case is scheduled for Jan. 10, 2007. Unlawful merchandising practices is a Class D felony under Missouri law, punishable upon conviction by up to four years in prison and a fine of $5,000 per count. The pending charges against the defendant are merely accusations. As in all criminal cases, the defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.