Attorney pleads guilty to filing false personal injury claim

Michael P. Tremoglie Apr. 27, 2012, 12:00pm

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - Attorney Jeffrey Squitieri, 45, of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., pled guilty Wednesday in Manhattan federal court to one count of conspiring to commit health care fraud, the Department of Justice announced.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: "Jeffrey Squitieri had a novel and corrupt concept of what it meant to zealously represent his legal clients.

"He used them to perpetrate a fraud on the healthcare industry by encouraging, and even badgering them into scheduling multiple, unnecessary doctor visits and medical procedures at a clinic with which he was colluding. His arrest was the result of the cooperative efforts of federal and local law enforcement, all of whom remain committed to rooting out healthcare fraud and punishing those responsible."

According to the DOJ communique, a joint health care fraud task force sent an undercover officer into a Bronx health clinic posing as a car accident victim seeking unnecessary medical treatment.

Squitieri told the officer that he would handle his personal injury case. He declared that it was his job to make the officer money. He instructed the officer to obtain unneeded medical treatment and to maximize his office visits.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk said: "The defendant engaged in a flagrant scheme to commit fraud, giving detailed instructions to another to abet him in this scheme. His conduct was not only in clear contravention of his ethical duties as a lawyer; it was criminal."

NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said: "Patients were given treatments they didn't need for injuries they didn't have to make millions for a fraudster."

Mr. Squitieri could receive a maximum of 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release.

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