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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Attorney Pleads Guilty To Filing Fraudulent Lawsuits Under The Americans With Disabilities Act

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that attorney STUART FINKELSTEIN pled guilty to mail fraud in connection with his filing of fraudulent lawsuits pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”)

According to the Indictment and statements made in court filings:

FINKELSTEIN is a lawyer who has filed, or has caused to be filed, over 300 lawsuits pursuant to the ADA on behalf of purported plaintiffs, including Victim-1 and Victim-2.  These lawsuits were filed in the United States District Courts for the Southern District of Florida, the Southern District of New York and the Eastern District of New York against various public establishments (the “Victim Public Establishments”).  Each of these lawsuits made representations that Victim-1 and Victim-2 were represented by FINKELSTEIN or an associate.  Furthermore, each of these lawsuits alleged that Victim-1 and Victim-2 had standing to sue under the ADA.  The lawsuits sought attorney’s fees and injunctive relief to address the alleged noncompliance with the ADA.

FINKELSTEIN’s lawsuits on behalf of Victim-1 and Victim-2, however, were fraudulent.  Victim-1 and Victim-2 neither retained nor authorized FINKELSTEIN to file ADA lawsuits on their behalf.  Instead, FINKELSTEIN stole the identities of Victim-1 and Victim-2, made numerous false representations to the Victim Public Establishments and the courts, obstructed official judicial proceedings, and then settled these fake lawsuits in order to collect approximately $900,000 in attorney’s fees.  

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FINKELSTEIN, 67, of Davie, Florida, pled guilty to one count of mail fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. 

The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as the sentence will be determined by the court. 

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of Special Agents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Rushmi Bhaskaran is in charge of the prosecution.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Contact: 
Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2600
Press Release Number: 
22-221
Updated July 12, 2022