Chief Operating Officer And Vice President Of International Cargo Airline Plead Guilty To Defrauding Their Employer
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that attorney STUART FINKELSTEIN was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe to four years in prison in connection with filing hundreds of fraudulent lawsuits pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). FINKELSTEIN previously pled guilty to one count of mail fraud.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Stuart Finkelstein, a practicing attorney, filed hundreds of fraudulent lawsuits in which he brought false claims of violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is meant to protect vulnerable members of our community against discrimination. Finkelstein has now been held accountable and is facing prison time for his brazen scheme.”
According to the Indictment and statements made in court filings:
Over the course of six years, FINKELSTEIN filed or caused to be filed nearly 300 fraudulent lawsuits under the ADA. These lawsuits, which were filed in Florida and New York, falsely claimed that the purported plaintiffs (“Victim-1” and “Victim-2”) had authorized the lawsuits and had standing to sue. In reality, Victim-1 and Victim-2 had no idea that FINKELSTEIN had filed lawsuits on their behalf. As a result of FINKELSTEIN’s false representations, FINKELSTEIN caused losses to the places of public accommodation that he sued in excess of $1,500,000 and netted nearly $650,000 for himself. In addition to stealing identities and using the ADA as a vehicle for fraud, FINKELSTEIN made false statements to the courts under oath and sought to obstruct proceedings that could have exposed his scheme.
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In addition to his prison term, FINKELSTEIN, 68, of Davie, Florida, was sentenced to three years of supervised release, fined $200,000, and ordered to forfeit $643,102.60. Restitution will be decided by the Court within 90 days of today’s sentencing.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Special Agents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rushmi Bhaskaran is in charge of the prosecution.