Las Vegas woman allegedly pretended to be lawyer, filing false divorce and adoption documents, forging judges’ signatures

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A Las Vegas woman has been accused of pretending to be an attorney, filing fraudulent paperwork in court and even forging signatures, to the horror of her former “clients.”

On Tuesday, officers with Las Vegas Metro Police Department arrested Cenia Poulsen, a 36-year-old woman who has allegedly been pretending to be a lawyer for the past two years. According to an LVMPD press release, Poulsen began the scheme in January 2022 and has since taken money for legal services that she was not authorized to perform, “defrauding multiple victims” in the process.

While presenting herself as a lawyer, Poulsen — who has never been registered with the Nevada State Bar and who has also allegedly worked under the names Cenia Del Pozo and Cenia Carillo — supposedly undertook several legal cases, including adoptions, name changes, and divorces.

In one instance, Poulsen collected $1,500 from a divorcing couple, including a retainer fee, and then forged documents related to their case, court records said. When one of the pair requested a copy of one of the documents, Poulsen reportedly became testy and shot back via text message, “I’ve been doing this for 16 years.”

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After the couple’s divorce had supposedly been finalized, the woman asked Poulsen why her name change hadn’t been processed. Poulsen allegedly blamed the delay on the recent death of a Las Vegas judge.

“The judge it was reassigned to kill herself 2-3 weeks ago,” she reportedly wrote in a text.

In another instance, Poulsen allegedly borrowed nearly $16,000 from a colleague to cover medical expenses for her supposedly ailing father and for travel arrangements because of a supposed death in the family. Not only were the stories about her father and deceased loved one apparently untrue, but Poulsen instead allegedly blew the money on a vacation to the Stagecoach Country Festival in California with her husband — who happens to be a Las Vegas police officer — and some friends.

When the colleague asked Poulsen for reimbursement, Poulsen allegedly forged emails from Chase Bank.

Court documents indicate that Poulsen made quite a habit of forging signatures and documents. Reports claim she forged judges’ signatures on adoption filings and divorces, and she may have pretended to be a notary public, even after her license expired in 2016, police said.

Poulsen faces 17 charges, including forgery, theft, preparing/delivering simulated legal documents, and offering a false instrument for a public office filing. And as might be expected, her alleged behaviors have not sat well with those now entrusted to process her case.

An area judge who was originally assigned to Poulsen’s case took particular exception to Poulsen’s alleged message that seemed to make light of her colleague’s suicide.

“There’s a lot of cases that come before me that I find to be offensive and I get past it,” said Justice Court Judge Amy Chelini on Tuesday, “but there’s somebody that she references in this case that was a colleague of mine and uses that colleague’s death as an excuse for a continuance to commit fraud upon on another person.”

Chelini ultimately recused herself from the case. Poulsen was scheduled to appear in front of a different judge on Thursday morning, KLAS reported. As of Thursday afternoon, the outcome of that hearing has not yet been reported.

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