BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) — A 42-year-old former immigration attorney whom authorities charged with 54 counts of theft and extortion pleaded guilty Monday to a single count of theft, avoiding a second trial that was scheduled to start that day and resolving a case that began in 2014.
Emily Cohen was accused of stealing more than $40,000 in fees between 2010 and February 2014 from immigrants seeking legal counsel. She was arrested March 1, 2014. Later that year, a jury convicted her on 13 counts of theft and she was sent to state prison.
The Colorado Court of Appeals overturned her conviction in 2019 based on evidence that should not have been allowed in court.
Prosecutors from the Twentieth Judicial District in Boulder continued to pursue the case, resulting in Monday’s plea, and in fact have filed new charges – 3 counts each of Attempt to Influence a Public Servant and Forgery, all felonies – against her.
The District Attorney’s Office said all of Cohen’s victims were included in the guilty plea to that single count of theft.
Cohen already spent six years in prison for the first trial’s verdict. The plea agreement allowed for no further incarceration.
“This felony conviction represents justice for the victims,” District Attorney Michael Dougherty stated in a press release. “Our office will continue to fight for the most vulnerable to scams and fraud, including members of our immigrant community. Her clients had gone to Ms. Cohen for legal help and, instead, had their money and trust stolen by this defendant.”
The new case against Cohen is off to a precarious start. Against the DA’s wishes, Judge Kristy Martinez reduced the bond on this new case from a $100,000 secured bond to a $100,000 personal recognizance bond. As a result, Cohen was released. She is scheduled to appear in Court on January 24, 2022 at 1:30 p.m.
Cohen had several warrants issued in the first case for Failure To Appear.
These new charges stem from Cohen’s attempts to avoid attending court hearings in Boulder during the late stages of her re-trial, an arrest affidavit obtained by CBS4 explains. Cohen appeared hearings in November virtually from her city of residence in Iowa, against court orders that required her presence. Cohen subsequently provided medical documents, including notes from doctors, supporting her claim that she had tested positive for COVID-19 and should not have to attend court personally.
A detective reviewed the documents, contacted those medical professionals, and did not find proof of Cohen’s positive COVID-19 test.