The state Supreme Court Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law brought a suit against Akbar'el in March, after complaints about his operations. He has also done business as Akbar Williams and Associates Legal Corp.
Judge Bars Little Rock's Akbar Williams From Posing As Lawyer; Ex-Clients Testify They Were Scammed
The state Supreme Court Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law brought a suit against Akbar'el in March, after documenting three years' worth of complaints about his operations. He has also done business as Akbar Williams and Associates Legal Corp.
The committee asked for an injunction against Akbar'el, which the judge granted Monday. A violation of the court order would open Akbar'el to criminal charges of practicing law without a license.
In his answer to the committee's lawsuit, Akbar'el denied ever holding himself out as a lawyer and stated he had done nothing wrong. He said the power of attorney he obtained from each of his clients allowed him to speak on their behalf.
"What I said was, I help people that cannot afford lawyers to understand their legal rights. You do not have to be a lawyer to help a person understand their legal rights, you only need to read and point them to the law book," he wrote. "I have never practiced law, I only work from a Power of Attorney which makes me an Attorney in Fact. I only use facts. I don't have to go to law school to understand law. Attorney in Fact and a Attorney at Law are two different things."
Akbar'el did not attend the proceeding. He had petitioned the court to delay the hearing, citing unspecified health problems, but the judge, noting that Monday's hearing had been scheduled in June, ruled that Akbar'el had waited until it was too late to reschedule the proceeding. Akbar'el also failed to notify authorities that he wanted the hearing delayed, the judge said.
Committee attorney Charlene Fleetwood on Monday presented six witnesses who said they had either paid Akbar'el to represent them and given him power of attorney or had encountered Akbar'el claiming to represent a client through a power of attorney.
Among them were Allie Bach of Arkadelphia, who paid $2,065 for Akbar'el to pursue a wrongful death claim after her son was killed in prison in 2011. She told the judge that Akbar'el was recommended to her by a friend of her pastor's. She said he promised her an award of thousands of dollars and regularly told her the case was progressing well until he dropped out of sight, his phone disconnected and the office where she once met him closed.
Danny and Wanda Thomas of North Little Rock told the judge they'd hired Akbar'el in 2014 to help them get a loan to fix up their house and pay it off using their investment property as collateral. After signing the power of attorney that Akbar'el demanded and paying him $508, they discovered that he'd sold off the property, the couple testified. Shown the warranty deed documenting the sale, both denied the signatures on the document were theirs.
"I called him about 100 times, and he never would return my calls," Wanda Thomas told the judge.
Danny Thomas said he was introduced to Akbar'el through a friend, Akbar'el's brother.
Among the complainants was Little Rock District Judge Mark Leverett, who reported Akbar'el to the committee in May 2013 after the man appeared in Leverett's court as a defendant in a lawsuit brought by Latesa Winfrey to get back the $800 she had paid him to represent her in a case against a credit card company. Winfrey also filed a complaint with state regulators about Akbar'el.
Court records show Akbar'el has a criminal record that includes a May 2017 felony conviction for aggravated assault for choking a woman, Tasha Bolden, in June 2016 in Little Rock. He was represented by an attorney, Simmons Smith, when he pleaded guilty to the charge in exchange for two years of probation and a $1,000 fine.
Earlier this month, Crawford County authorities issued an arrest warrant for Akbar'el, reporting that he owes $325 in restitution after pleading no contest in May to a misdemeanor theft charge.
In 1995, he was convicted of theft by deception and writing hot checks based on separate complaints that he had posed as an insurance agent and sold bogus car insurance to a woman in 1993 and that he had written about three dozen hot checks, totaling more than $1,400, between April 1993 and March 1994.
He was convicted for writing hot checks again in 2000, involving 11 checks worth $1,764.
In 1991, when he was 24, he was acquitted of hot check charges on mental health grounds after he was committed to the State Hospital, where doctors determined he was insane at the time he passed the checks, court records show.