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Law Firm Facing $1 Million Suit for Forgery
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A paralegal forged the signatures of dozens of judges on court documents, triggering the filing of a $1 million against the law firm where he worked.

Summary: A paralegal forged the signatures of dozens of judges on court documents, triggering the filing of a $1 million suit against his firm.

Most attorneys butt heads with their paralegals at some point in their careers. Few paralegals, however, have committed illegal actions that trigger the filing of a $1 million lawsuit against their firm.

  
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According to the New York Post, Manhattan-based Paris & Chaikin has been sued for $1 million by J.G. Wentworth, an insurance settlement company. In the suit, J.G. Wentworth claims it paid thousands more than it should have because paralegal Thomas Rubino forged certain information on court documents.

Rubino admits he forged the names of 76 New York state Supreme Court judges on over 100 documents. His reasoning? He wanted to save time because he had too much work on his desk.

The ABA Journal alleges Rubino said, “Each year, the workload increased and I had difficulty keeping up. I made the forged orders when I felt overwhelmed with work. I was motivated out of fear that the work wouldn’t get done.” According to Gothamist.com, Rubino now faces 234 felony forgery charges.

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J.G. Wentworth pays individuals cash with the understanding that they will be reimbursed from long-term insurance settlement plans. Each transaction must be approved by a judge. Instead of getting the judges’ approval, Rubino copied and pasted the judges’ signatures onto fake court orders.

Now J.G. Wentworth is fighting claims against two insurers, Travelers and Hartford, for nearly $250,000 in legal fees that were generated from the investigation.



Because of the forged documents, J.G. Wentworth was forced to resubmit 27 settlement purchases that were voided once the scam was uncovered. In several cases, the real judges awarded J.G. Wentworth to pay out more money, further cutting into the company’s profits. One 26-year-old from Harlem, Robin Hutton, received an additional $27,000 after J.G. Wentworth had already paid $21,000 in exchange for a $69,200 insurance settlement.

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The suit also alleges that attorneys Jason Paris and Ian Chaikin did not properly supervise Rubin’s work.

Chaikin (left) and Paris (right)

Chaikin (left) and Paris (right)

In a separate J.G. Wentworth case, documents imply that the firm tried to cover up Rubino’s actions.

However, Pery Krinsky, the firm’s ethics counsel, said, “Upon first discovering Rubino’s fraudulent conduct, Paris & Chaikin immediately self-reported Rubino’s fraud to various New York courts and law enforcement and since that time, the firm has continued to ethically and aggressively address this matter.”

Read about other instances of attorney and paralegal fraud here: A village justice was recently convicted of fraud.

An ex-partner from Hughes, Hubbard & Reed pleaded guilty to tax fraud.

A prominent New York attorney and her husband were charged with wire fraud.

Source: NY Post

Photo credit: dlgfirm.com, nymag.com (Paris  & Chaikin)



 

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