OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 News) – Robert Argyle acted and talked like a lawyer.
He even claimed to have been a graduate of Stanford Law school and was a member of the Ogden law firm, Peace Legal.
The problem was– he was a fake, according to authorities.
“I had hired him as an attorney,” said Crystal Vaitai. “He was helping get custody for my two younger kids.”
It was Vaitai who caught on and alerted authorities.
A year ago, Argyle was hired by a firm called Peace Legal in Ogden. On his social media website, he lists degrees from Stanford Law School and the University of Utah.
Vaitai said she paid Argyle to help her in a custody battle with her former husband. Vitai said at first things were going well.
“He literally sounded like an attorney, like he knew what he was talking about,” said Vaitai. “Me and my husband was thinking this guy really knew what he was doing [sic].”
She said the judge overseeing the case never caught on.
“He didn’t think anything out of the ordinary,” said Vaitai of the judge. “He had thanked him for representing us.
It started unraveling with a protective order Argyle allegedly sought and was granted.
Authorities claimed it was a fake. The case number wasn’t real. The judge’s signature was allegedly forged.
“I had sheriff come to me thinking it was me that had forged the judge’s name,” said Vaitai.
She contacted his law firm and they vouched for her. Vaitai said after that Peace Legal, which is no longer in operation, realized the protective order was bogus.
According to a search warrant, Peace Legal discovered he “used his father’s bar credentials” on his resume. The Argyle name was “not listed on the Utah State Bar’s website” as active. Peace Legal also admitted to law enforcement that Argyle had “represented people in Utah” on behalf of the firm. He was fired last summer.
But Vaitai claimed Peace Legal told her something different about hiring Argyle.
“They said that they ran his bar number and it all came back correct,” she said. “But I don’t understand how because it wasn’t even a real bar number.”
The Attorney General is now charging Argyle with multiple crimes, including forgery and communications fraud linked to impersonating an attorney.
In a separate case, the Davis County attorney have charged Argyle and his wife Mayra this month with identity fraud, forgery, and fraud linked to real estate transactions.
“The money is not the issue, it’s what he put my family through,” Vaitai said. “What he jeopardized my kids going back to (their biological father) is what really made it ten times worse.”
According to the search warrant, Peace Legal reported Argyle to the Utah State Bar for possible sanctions and additional charges.
Peace Legal was taken over by Integra Law. The firm is operating in the same location as Peace Legal. ABC4 visited the law firm but our request for a response was unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, Argyle was arraigned before a judge in Davis County Wednesday. His public defender asked for bail but the judge denied it and will remain behind bars.
His wife, Mayra who is also facing charges related to the real estate charge was also arraigned. She is out on bail but refused comment.