FARMINGTON — A man faces charges after allegedly pretending to be a Stanford University Law School graduate and practicing law without a license.
He is also accused with his wife of posing as relatives to apply and pay for a lease in a separate case.
Robert Sinclair Argyle, 39, of West Bountiful, was charged Thursday in 3rd District Court with communication fraud, a second-degree felony; three counts of communication fraud, a third-degree felony; and forgery, a third-degree felony.
In January, investigators with the Utah Attorney General’s Office say Argyle applied for a job at a law firm in Weber County with a resume claiming he graduated from Stanford and was licensed to practice law in Utah and California, according to the charges. He was hired with the firm.
Argyle was then assigned to a legal case involving a protective order, investigators wrote, in which a $2,500 legal retainer fee was agreed upon. He allegedly told his client he filed a protective order, and emailed a copy to the client.
“A copy of the order was sent to a clerk of the 2nd District Court who noticed errors with the case numbers and the names and signatures of two judges noted on the order,” the charges state. The clerk reported the errors to a detective, who showed the order to judges and determined the signatures were forged, court documents state.
Investigators learned through a subpoena that Argyle had not attended Stanford, according to the charges.
In March, Argyle was also hired by another business as counsel and was offered a salary of $175,000 a year with benefits, investigators wrote. “The defendant worked for a short time and was terminated when a background investigation revealed the defendant lacked verifiable legal education and law experience,” the charges state.
In another instance, a client of Argyle reported that “the legal documents the defendant produced seemed generic or something that the defendant had found on the internet and altered,” court documents state.
Argyle was also charged Nov. 26 in 2nd District Court with identity fraud, forgery and theft, all third-degree felonies. His wife, Mayra Gregoria Argyle, 31, was charged with two counts of identity fraud, a third-degree felony.
On Oct. 10, Farmington police were contacted by an agent with the attorney general’s office regarding an investigation into the couple “in a complex fraud scheme,” according to the charges.
The agent learned that the Argyles had recently leased a home in Farmington. The homeowners told the agent that Mayra Argyle used the name of one of her husband’s aunts to apply for the lease, “presumably to pass a credit/background check,” court documents state.
After the showing, the owners agreed to lease the property to Mayra with the understanding that she was actually (the aunt).
When the couple went to a showing at the home, Mayra Argyle told the owner she liked to go by the name Mayra rather than the aunt’s name, according to the charges.
“After the showing, the owners agreed to lease the property to Mayra with the understanding she was actually (the aunt). Robert then signed a $3,800 check in front of the owner for the deposit,” police said.
The check belonged to a trust account for which Robert Argyle’s father acts as trustee, the charges state. Argyle, who police say is not a trustee and not authorized to sign trust checks, allegedly signed with his father’s name. The check cleared, the owners said.
The owners were later notified that the Argyles weren’t who they had claimed to be, according to the charges, and requested additional documentation from Mayra Argyle to prove her identity.
“On Oct. 18, 2019, the owners received an email from firstname.lastname@example.org with an attached copy of a clearly fake driver’s license with Mayra’s picture and a year of birth of 1988. The rest of the information belonged to (the aunt),” police wrote.
When investigators later talked to the aunt, she said she was unaware Mayra Argyle was using her name. Robert Argyle’s father also said he was unaware his son had used checks from the family trust, the charges state.
These aren’t the only instances Robert Argyle has recently been accused of fraud.
In August, he was charged with two counts of identity fraud, a third-degree felony, after allegedly paying for a home in West Bountiful with a cashier’s check and personal check that both bounced.
In that case, Argyle allegedly provided a document “purported to be from Zion’s Bank” saying that the funds had indeed gone through.
“The title company handling the transaction also received a phone call (on) behalf of the defendant claiming to be from Zion’s Bank confirming that the money had successfully transferred for the purchase. However, no money was ever transferred and the document purportedly from Zion’s Bank was later confirmed to be a forgery,” court documents state.
When investigators searched the couple’s home on a warrant, they found a US Bank credit card in Argyle’s aunt’s name.
“(The aunt) indicated to officers that she did not have and has never obtained a credit card from US Bank, but that she has recently been receiving mail from US Bank claiming that she was overdue on a credit card with them,” police wrote.
Because police say the allegations in the October case occurred after Argyle had been released on bail in the August case, they asked that he be held without bail.