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Davis County Jail

Utah man compared to con artist in 'Catch Me If You Can' movie

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Apr. 28, 2020 at 5:31 p.m.


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FARMINGTON — A West Bountiful man recently convicted of practicing law without a license who is currently accused of forging signatures has been charged yet again after prosecutors say he forged a document presented during his current criminal court proceedings.

The letter appeared to be signed by the victim in the case and said the charges against the man were inaccurate. But prosecutors say the victim never wrote or signed that letter.

Robert Sinclair Argyle, 35, was charged Tuesday in 2nd District Court with evidence tampering and forgery, both third-degree felonies.

Davis County prosecutors are comparing Argyle to Frank Abagnale, a former con man who posed as a doctor, airline pilot, lawyer and federal law enforcer. His story was the basis for the movie “Catch Me If You Can.”

Argyle is already facing charges in four other criminal cases with several other cases still pending, according to prosecutors.

The series of charges against Argyle began Aug. 28 when he was charged with felony communications fraud, forgery and identity fraud. Part of the case included allegations that Argyle applied for and obtained a credit card in a relative’s name.

In November, Argyle and his wife were charged with engaging “in a complex fraud scheme,” by posing as relatives and writing checks off of other relatives’ accounts, according to charging documents. Both are charged in that case with identity fraud, theft, and forgery.

In January, Argyle was charged again with forgery. In February, Argyle pleaded guilty in a separate case to attempted forgery and communications fraud after he pretended to be a Stanford University Law School graduate and practiced law without a license, according to charging documents.

In the new charges filed Tuesday, Argyle is accused of forging the same relative’s signature that he allegedly forged in the August case while preparing for a preliminary hearing in court.

“On the day of the hearing, Argyle, through his attorney, although unbeknownst to his attorney, produced a document purportedly signed by victim,” the charges state. “In the document, its author, claiming to be victim ... stated that the charges filed against Argyle were inaccurate.”

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The letter allegedly from the relative claimed police had coerced her statement and that “she had actually given Argyle permission to help her with her account and use her card,” according to the charges.

However, when prosecutors called the relative to the witness stand to question her about the letter, “she denied writing any such letter or making any such claims, including ever giving Argyle permission to use her accounts or identity. Argyle’s attorney, aware that something was amiss, wisely chose not to introduce the letter in the hearing and withdrew from the case,” charging documents say.

Investigators also compared “the victim’s actual signature to that on the purported letter, they do not match. Her signature was forged,” prosecutors concluded.

In the new charging documents — which are traditionally written with just a narrative of the facts of a case — the Davis County Attorney’s Office wrote: “For those familiar with Frank Abagnale, they know that even the cleverest of frauds eventually catches up to them. So it was for Robert Argyle. Robert Argyle, an individual who having in true Abagnalellian fashion posed as an lawyer for several years — having forged a diploma and license and having even staged a fake graduation from Stanford University — has entangled himself in a number of forgeries, check schemes and frauds that continue to come to light.”

Prosecutors said the crimes were committed while multiple felony charges were pending against him “in an effort to tamper with the truth-seeking function of the criminal justice system. He has tried to mislead public servants to secure a dismissal of his charges,” the court documents say.

“Not only has he forged and tampered with evidence from victims; not only has he tried to mislead a prosecutor; Argyle has even been convicted of forging the signatures of judges.”

Prosecutors have requested that Argyle now be held without bail in the Davis County Jail.

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