BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A man who authorities say pretended to be an attorney could spend years in prison if he’s convicted.

According to New York State Attorney General Letitia James and State Police Superintendent Kevin Bruen, Andrew Schnorr, 39, defrauded western New Yorkers of more than $22,000 in legal fees.

They say this all happened while he had never graduated from law school or passed a bar exam. Despite this, officials say Schnorr represented clients at “numerous legal proceedings.”

“This individual tricked vulnerable people by posing as an attorney who could help them, but instead cheated them out of tens of thousands of dollars while risking their future,” James said. “New Yorkers must be able to trust that the professionals representing them are qualified and serving in their best interest.”

According to her office, Schnorr lied about graduating from New York University School of Law and used fake credentials to secure a job at a Buffalo law firm. While there, he worked as an associate attorney and was involved in civil matters related to depositions and settlement conferences.

Starting in 2019, the Attorney General’s Office says he represented at least nine clients.

The investigation into Schnorr began that summer after the Attorney General’s Office received a complaint about him from an attorney. The Attorney’s General’s Office says it was “concerning Schnorr’s lack of competence during a legal proceeding.”

Schnorr has been charged with unauthorized practice of law and grand larceny. Both are felony charges. If he’s convicted, Schnorr could spend two-and-one-third to seven years in state prison.

Anyone with information that could help authorities in their investigation of Schnorr can call (716) 853-8400.

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.