Mac Kenneth K. Ortiz had multiple schemes to defraud dozens of victims of thousands of dollars over about a five-year period, the district attorney's office said.
He is accused of more than 160 counts of theft by deception, insurance fraud, forgery, writing bad checks, tampering with public records and numerous other accusations in a series of alleged swindles dating back to 1999.
Authorities say he posed as a lawyer in several cases, accepting fees and doing no work to earn them, set up fraudulent corporations, including a fake bank, stole identities, wrote worthless checks, used phony credit cards and similar illegal activities.
Ortiz also had a penchant for posing as law-enforcement officers, and had fraudulently registered five vehicles with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, rigging one to look like a police car and another as an ambulance.
Ortiz, 36, of Levick Street near Torresdale Avenue, was arrested yesterday after an investigation by the DA's Insurance Fraud Unit that started in June 2006.
The investigation began when a property owner hired Ortiz, who was posing as a lawyer, to resolve a dispute between the owner and a tenant.
Investigators said Ortiz pocketed the $5,000 the owner paid to have the case resolved, and Ortiz took the money and ran.
According to the DA's office, Ortiz was paid $43,000 in retainer fees and insurance payments when Ortiz, again posing as a lawyer, convinced a store owner to sign over all checks from an insurance claim to Ortiz, who guaranteed the owner that he could make him more money on his claim.
Ortiz pocketed that money, authorities say, and the store near Torresdale Avenue and Margaret Street has now been condemned and is scheduled for demolition.
Shell companies he allegedly set up included the fake Republican National Bank; Commonwealth Law Associates, PC; North East Community Law Center PC; and El Morro Restaurant, Inc., to name a few.
Ortiz also is accused of passing illegal checks through established businesses such as Bank of America, Citigroup, Commerce Bank, Office Max, Pep Boys and many others.