By SDCN Editor
Honolulu, HI–A Hawaii man was arrested by the FBI Monday in connection with a federal grand jury indictment charging that he forged the signature of a federal judge in order to trick a woman into paying him thousands of dollars for bogus legal services.
According to the indictment, 67-year-old Edmond Abordo, of Honolulu, used the forged signature and a federal court seal to create a phony court order, which he then used to prove to the victim that he’d pulled her Ewa Beach, Hawaii, home out of foreclosure. Abordo allegedly claimed to be a legal expert, which he was not.
The case was initiated when the Clerk’s Office of the District Court, District of Hawaii learned of the forged court order containing the signature and seal of U.S. Chief District Judge Derrick Watson. The FBI launched an investigation into the incident.
The indictment alleges that Abordo first met the elderly victim in late 2017 and described himself to her as a “non-licensed attorney” who could help her prevent foreclosure. Abordo, who is not a lawyer and has no legal training, claimed that he had expertise on several legal subjects, including mortgages and adverse possession. He convinced the victim to file a federal lawsuit challenging the foreclosure of her home. Nearly every time Abordo met with the victim, he demanded a cash payment of $1,000 to $3,000 dollars.
Abordo ultimately convinced the victim that the federal judge assigned to the lawsuit had awarded the possession of her home, the indictment said Abordo stated that he would not give her the court order until she paid him additional money. In reality, the victim’s home had been lost to foreclosure and the federal lawsuit had been dismissed months earlier. The victim, believing Abordo had a real court order, paid him thousands of dollars in exchange for the forged court order.
The forged court order was a two-page document dated June 26, 2019, and titled “Order Granting Plaintiff’s Motion For Adverse Possession Pursuant HRS § 657-31.5 Adverse Possession and 43 U.S. Code § 1068 Lands Held in Adverse Possession.” The document contained the caption of the federal lawsuit as well as the purported signature of U.S. District Judge Watson, and the seal of the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii.
Abordo assured the victim that the forged court order was a genuine court document and that the judge’s signature on the forged order was genuine, and that the forged court order gave legal possession of the Ewa Beach property to the victim. In reality, and as Abordo then well knew, the forged court order was not genuine, was never issued or signed by the judge, and did not confer any property rights to the victim.
“We will always act to protect the integrity of the court and seek justice for victims of fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman of the Southern District of California.
“Trust in our court system is paramount to our society,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill. “When individuals forge court documents and victimize our kupuna, the FBI will aggressively pursue those individuals to maintain the public’s confidence in the court system and protect the vulnerable.”
Abordo was arraigned on the indictment by U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendal Newman and entered a plea of not guilty. Judge Newman detained Abordo temporarily and ordered him to appear before U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill on January 19, 2023 for a motion hearing.