- Associated Press - Friday, January 3, 2020

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A woman who fooled a public defender into hiring her as a lawyer pleaded guilty Friday to practicing law in Illinois without a license.

The Belleville News-Democrat said eight people were offered an opportunity to withdraw from plea deals made by Kelcie Miller when she worked in the Madison County public defender’s office. All but one kept their deals.

Miller, 26, worked in the defender’s office for seven months. Public Defender John Rekowski said he didn’t ask Miller for proof that she had passed the state bar exam. She had failed it but presented a phony Illinois attorney registration card.

“There are many victims in this case. The fraud that Ms. Miller committed was not only against the court, it was against her colleagues at the Public Defender’s Office and most importantly, it was to her clients she was trusted to represent,” said First Assistant State’s Attorney Crystal Uhe.

Miller declined to speak in court Friday and declined to comment outside court. She will serve a sentence of probation and must repay $40,232 in pay and benefits.

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