Montgomery County Attorney Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Stealing from His Former Law Firm
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Craig A. Cohen, 55, of Blue Bell, PA was sentenced to 60 months’ imprisonment, three years’ supervised release and ordered to pay over $3.4 million in restitution by United States District Court Eduardo C. Robreno for his scheme to steal money from various entities through his work as an attorney.
The defendant pleaded guilty to mail fraud in November 2019. For approximately eight years, Cohen worked for a Philadelphia-based law firm. He specialized in representing insurance companies in subrogation matters, particularly those matters involving losses generated by water damage. As a subrogation attorney, Cohen filed claims on behalf of insurance companies to obtain recoveries against product manufacturers and class action settlement funds after the insurance companies covered losses of insured individuals due to water damage resulting from defective products.
Over the course of approximately four years, from 2015 through 2019, Cohen engaged in a fraudulent scheme to obtain millions of dollars in financial recoveries from product manufacturers and class action settlement funds. He committed this fraud by filing fraudulent subrogation claims that illegally funneled the financial recoveries directly to him.
Cohen operated the scheme primarily from his home in Blue Bell where he created a legal entity, WLSP, PLLC (“WLSP”), which he used to file the fabricated claims. He also opened a post office box in Philadelphia and created internet domains and email addresses for his company so that his fraudulent business could function effectively and appear legitimate.
In total, Cohen submitted dozens of fraudulent claims, causing losses to numerous victims, including product manufacturers, class action settlement funds, insurance companies, and his employer, for a total loss of over $3.4 million.
“Attorneys take an oath to uphold the law and to act in the best interest of their clients – not to use their position to steal,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Mr. Cohen went to great lengths to deceive and defraud his employer, its clients, and other entities of millions of dollars. This is illegal conduct for an employee in any line of work, but it is especially reprehensible for a lawyer.”
“Cohen’s elaborate fraud scheme spanned several years, during which he stole more than $3.4 million of his victims’ money,” said Tara A. McMahon, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “He lied to his employer and clients, fabricated supporting evidence, and cashed in on bogus claims. The FBI is committed to bringing such egregious financial crimes to light and the perpetrators to justice.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Deputy United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen.