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Press Release

Sikeston Man Sentenced on Federal Fraud Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

St. Louis, MO – James Michael Arnold was sentenced to 30 months in prison on charges involving his false use of the name and Missouri Bar number of a licensed Missouri attorney to practice law.

According to court documents, James Michael Arnold graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law, Kansas City, in July 1992, but never passed the Missouri Bar Examination and has never been licensed to practice law in Missouri or elsewhere.           

Between January 2010 and January 2014, James Michael Arnold fraudulently represented to individuals, law firms, legal staffing agencies and other businesses that he was a licensed attorney in order to gain employment as an attorney.  As part of his scheme to defraud, Arnold used the name and Missouri Bar number of a licensed Missouri attorney to apply for jobs as an attorney and to file court documents.  Arnold’s unsuspecting victims paid him for his fraudulent representation.

Additionally, for tax years 2011, 2012 and 2013, Arnold failed to file tax returns reporting the earnings from the illegal activity described.  Arnold’s failure to file the required returns resulted in a tax loss of approximately $74,000.

James Michael Arnold’s scheme to defraud resulted in a loss to the victims of approximately $530,000.

Arnold, Sikeston, Missouri, pled guilty in January to one felony count of mail fraud, one felony count of aggravated identity theft and one count of failure to file tax returns. He appeared today for sentencing in St. Louis before United States District Judge E. Richard Webber. 

This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Roy handled the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Updated April 8, 2016