MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A former state legislator and disbarred attorney is behind bars after he allegedly charged thousands of dollars for legal services he couldn't provide.
Bretran Thompson is accused of felony theft and impersonating a licensed professional.
FOX13 talked with the victim in this case who said she could have prevented this scam if she had searched Thompson's name online before hiring him.
Deborah Rodgers said all she has are a couple of receipts with nothing to show for it after she hired Thompson as her attorney.
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Rodgers said he hired Thompson to help her get a letter of testamentary after her aunt died in January.
She told FOX13 she paid Thompson two installments of $1,500, but a few months into the process, Rodgers said she hadn't received any paperwork.
Then Rodgers said Thompson charged another family member $2,950 for the similar legal work related to her aunt's case without telling her.
"So afterwards I questioned Bretran about it and he became really agitated by it, so at that time let me start doing some [investigating]," said Rodgers.
That's when Rodgers called the Memphis Bar Association and discovered Thompson was disbarred in 1996.
"I said ‘I feel like I have been scammed.' And now I know I have been scammed," she said.
Rodgers said she called Thompson to get her money and her aunt's death certificate back, but he didn't return her calls. She said he husband called too, and Thompson returned those phone calls via texting.
Rodger said Thompson claimed another attorney in Nashville was working on the case, but she said they didn't find an attorney matching the name he gave them.
"I was really hurt. I couldn't believe somebody who informed me they would take care some of my loved ones that you would take advantage of the situation," said Rodgers.
She filed charges in May, and Thompson was arrested this week.
Rodgers told FOX13 she's relieved Thompson is behind bars, but she's worried about what he could do if he's released.
"To whomever it is out there, he's going to do it again because he's done it to so many people," she said.
This isn't Thompson's first run in with police. He was charged for felony theft and impersonating a lawyer back in 2005.
Thompson was supposed to appear in court on Thursday, but that appearance has been pushed to August 22.
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