Lawyer disbarred after stealing brother's identity for law school application

A Philippines court has disbarred a lawyer who used his younger brother's name, identity and academic records to obtain his law degree.


The court heard that Richard Caronan, a former pupil at the Philippine Military Academy, used his younger brother Patrick’s identity in order to pursue a career in law. Until now living as attorney Patrick Caronan, the elder Mr Caronan used transcripts from his brother’s undergraduate degree, as well as his identity documents, to secure his place in law school and eventually to qualify as a lawyer. Mr Caronan was reportedly ineligible to apply to law school using his own identity as he had not completed a prerequisite undergraduate degree.

Ruse gone wrong

Though the real Patrick Caronan was at first seemingly unfazed by his brother’s decision to practice law under his name, the ruse began to crumble when the younger Mr Caronan was questioned by the Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation over crimes allegedly committed by Richard Caronan under the name Patrick—including ‘gun running’ and possession of illegal explosives. Patrick Caronan eventually filed a complaint against his brother before the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in 2013. In its judgement last week, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that Richard Caronan had made ‘a mockery of the legal profession by pretending to have the necessary qualifications to be a lawyer’, as well as having ‘tarnished the image of lawyers with his alleged unscrupulous activities, which resulted in the filing of several criminal cases against him.’

Sources: Legal Cheek; Rappler

Email your news and story ideas to: