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Federal authorities in Los Angeles are looking for a Newport Beach man who litigated several cases in Southern California over the past year. His alleged crime? Well, litigating cases. The problem? He wasn’t a lawyer. Almost immediately after Harold Goldstein, 58, got out of prison last year on fraud charges, he set up a criminal defense shop, hiring two associates and a staff. According to the Central District U.S. Attorney’s Office, Goldstein represented at least six defendants in federal court. He even took at least one court-appointed assignment and argued against several assistant U.S. attorneys, all while being monitored by the federal Probation Office. His associates became suspicious, however, when they saw a brief filed on his own behalf to modify the terms of his supervised release, said AUSA Jeannie Masse. Goldstein, whose middle name is David, used the identity of Redwood City attorney David Goldstein, a member in good standing with the California State Bar. David Goldstein did not return a call for comment, but stated unequivocally during the investigation that he did not file anything in the Central District and did not practice law in Newport Beach. Harold Goldstein is serving three years of probation. He was released after 30 months in prison for running a mail fraud ring — from prison. Goldstein is barred from owning his own business under the terms of his release. “He’s been doing all sorts of ground-breaking and unique frauds since the late 1970s,” Masse said. His caseload, alas, appeared to be neither ground-breaking nor unique. Masse said they were relatively minor criminal matters. Nor did he ever try a case. Masse added that she believes Goldstein has been in touch with the FBI and may be negotiating a surrender.

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