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Boulder Lawyer Emily Cohen Busted, Sentenced After Skipping Hearings

Update: Emily Cohen was reportedly arrested on April 17 in Colorado Springs after checking herself out of a mental-health facility. The following week, she was finally sentenced to six years behind bars and ten years of probation for ripping off her clients, most of whom were immigrant families. She's said to be planning an appeal. Continue for our previous coverage.

Original post, 9:50 a.m. April 14: Any lawyer worth his or her credentials will tell clients thinking about skipping out on court dates that doing so will only make things worse.

Given that, it makes a certain kind of sense that Boulder attorney Emily Cohen is a wanted woman at this writing, after failing to appear for sentencing not once but twice.

After all, Cohen has been convicted of ripping off immigrant families that came to her for help and is facing six years behind bars.

Although maybe we should rephrase part of that last sentence as "was facing," since she's likely risking more time by trying to delay her punishment.

Cohen's all but vanished online, too. Her website is no longer accessible and her Facebook page, featuring a single like and only two posts, hasn't been updated since 2012.

But she's been busy since then, as we noted when naming her to our 2014 Colorado Hall of Shame, an item illustrated by her double mug shot. Here's how we summed up the reasons behind her inclusion:

Navigating government paperwork is difficult enough for people who were born in the United States and speak English. But for immigrants who are trying to earn a living, earn citizenship and learn the language, it can be a lot tougher. Which is why many hire immigration attorneys like Emily Cohen to help with visas, work permits and other documents. But that also makes them vulnerable, and in December a Boulder jury found the 34-year-old Cohen guilty of thirteen of 21 felony theft counts she faced after being charged with taking thousands of dollars from clients without providing promised services. She'd first been arrested back in February, after seven families complained; many more clients came forward after the news got out, and Cohen was ultimately charged with 54 counts. So far, the families have been reimbursed about $228,000. Cohen is set to be sentenced next year and will also face disbarment.

That sentencing has proven to be trickier than anticipated, however. According to the Boulder Daily Camera, she didn't show up for a sentencing hearing last week, explaining that she was at a "medical facility."

She used the same excuse on Monday, but Boulder District Court Judge Andrew Hartman didn't buy it a second time. Instead, he issued an arrest warrant in her name.

Afterward, Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett was frustrated enough by the situation that he sat down with the Daily Camera to excoriate Cohen on camera. See the clip below, following coverage from CBS4.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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