Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Disbarred attorney pleads guilty to Social Security number fraud as part of scheme to obtain jobs at law firms

July 09, 2024

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Ohio

CINCINNATI – A disbarred attorney who previously practiced law in the Cincinnati area admitted in U.S. District Court this afternoon that he used false identities to obtain employment with at least seven law firms.

Richard Louis Crosby III, 37, of Mason, Ohio, pleaded guilty to three counts of Social Security number fraud. His plea agreement includes a sentence recommendation of 37 months in prison.

At various times throughout his scheme, Crosby used identifying information belonging to his elderly father, his girlfriend, a deceased man and others. He falsely told at least one law firm that he was a University of Michigan football player and an ex-Marine.

According to court documents, the Cincinnati Bar Association filed a complaint against Crosby in November 2020. In April 2021, he indicated his intent to resign from the practice of law.

In both June and November 2021, Crosby was indicted and charged in Hamilton County with crimes related to stealing client funds. After his indictments, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio entered an order disbarring Crosby.

In May 2022, Crosby was arrested in both of his Hamilton County cases. He was sentenced to probation in both cases in June 2023.

According to his federal plea agreement, while Crosby’s local cases were pending, he created an email account using “richardcwilliamsesq.” Crosby used the email address and the alias Richard Williams to communicate with a law firm in Washington D.C. in June 2021. The firm briefly employed “Williams.”

In June 2022 – at which point Crosby had been disbarred in Ohio and arrested on the Hamilton County charges – Crosby used his alias to apply online for an attorney position with a law firm in California. The firm offered Crosby a position as an associate attorney with a salary of $150,000. The defendant was employed under his alias for approximately three months and used a firm email address with his alias name.

In September 2022, Crosby used his alias to apply for an attorney position with a law firm based in Miami, Florida. Crosby met with a recruiter via Zoom, and represented himself as Richard Williams, a licensed attorney admitted to the bar in New York and D.C.

Crosby then met with one of the firm’s hiring managers in Florida and was ultimately offered employment in October 2022. His starting salary was $185,000 per year with a $5,000 signing bonus. Crosby used his girlfriend’s Social Security number, passport number and banking information to complete his onboarding paperwork at the law firm.

In April 2023, the firm received an inquiry from an investigator with the Clermont County Child Support Enforcement Office, making the firm aware of Crosby’s true identity. He was subsequently fired.

In July 2023, Crosby interviewed with the founding partner of a different California law firm. He also falsely claimed to work at the law firm of Kirkland and Ellis. After the founding partner asked Crosby to verify with whom he worked with at Kirkland and Ellis, Crosby withdrew his interest in the job.

A few days later, Crosby again used the alias to attempt to obtain employment. He interviewed over Zoom with senior management of a law firm located in Coral Gables, Florida. Crosby doctored a “screen shot” of the name Richard Coleman Williams Jr. in the online D.C. bar membership directory to attach with his resume.

The firm offered Crosby a starting salary of $195,000 per year with a $10,000 signing bonus, but eventually determined Crosby was using a false identity and did not hire him.

In August 2023, the defendant applied for a job at another law firm. The firm, located in Michigan, sent Crosby a letter offering a salary of $145,000 per year and a $10,000 signing bonus. When his credential information had discrepancies, the firm terminated their working relationship before issuing Crosby’s first paycheck.

In September 2023, one month prior to his arrest on federal charges, Crosby used a different alias to apply for a job at another law firm in California. He claimed that he was a University of Michigan football player and an ex-Marine.  Crosby was hired as an attorney at a salary of $250,000 per year. He used the Social Security number of a deceased man from North Carolina in his tax paperwork to the firm.

Crosby was arrested by federal agents in October 2023. As part of his guilty plea, Crosby has agreed to pay nearly $171,000 in restitution to law firms he defrauded.

Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio announced the charges. The case is being investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office, Clermont County Department of Job and Family Services, U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service and United States Marshals Service. Special Assistant United States Attorney Timothy Landry is representing the United States in this case.

If you have information related to Crosby’s conduct, please contact the Social Security OIG tip line at 1-800-269-0271.

Looking for U.S. government information and services?