A Center City personal-injury lawyer was sentenced to two months in prison yesterday for obtaining an insurance settlement on behalf of two undercover FBI agents posing as injured patients.
U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe also sentenced Jordan B. Luber, 42, of Bala Cynwyd, to one year of supervised release after his prison stint - the first three months to be served as house arrest - and 100 hours of community service.
Defense lawyer Judson Aaron had argued for a sentence of probation, noting that Luber's conduct was an "aberration" and that Luber was "not out there trolling for phony claims."
Luber, who pleaded guilty to mail and health-care fraud last June, represented two women he thought were cleaning ladies but who were really FBI undercover agents.
"I'm not a dirty lawyer," Luber told Rufe prior to sentencing, adding, "I made a terrible mistake and I beat myself up over it every day."
He said he'd already surrendered his license to practice law.
Rufe said that Luber, as a lawyer, was an officer of the court and therefore had a higher obligation to obey the law.
"You're not an ordinary criminal and you need to be judged on that basis," she said.
Luber faced eight to 14 months under advisory sentencing guidelines, but the feds asked Rufe to give him a break because he had cooperated with them.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lou Lappen said, however, that a short prison term was "critically important" to deter other lawyers disposed to engage in similar conduct.
The feds set up a fake chiropractic clinic, Injury Associates, to target individuals participating in bogus personal injury actions arising out of purported auto accidents.
The clinic provided no real medical treatment. Its purpose was to generate paperwork, making it appear that patients received treatment so that they could max out on phony insurance claims.
Luber met several times between January 2004 and July 2005 with the two undercover agents who said they had gone to Injury Associates and wanted to pursue personal injury claims.
The meetings between Luber and the agents posing as cleaning women were recorded.
The women told Luber that they hadn't received any treatment at Injury Associates, but that it had created phony medical records and forwarded them to Luber. He in turn sent them to an insurer to settle the claims.
Luber later sent a letter to the insurer attesting that the two women were involved in a car accident and that they had received therapy from Injury Associates.
In May 2005, Luber called the insurer to negotiate a settlement of the claims.
Two settlement checks for $7,500 each were mailed to Luber's post-office box in Lafayette Hill on July 11, 2005. The insurer also notified Luber the same day that the settlement checks were based partly on the treatment records he knew were false.
Luber met with the two undercover agents at his office on July 21, 2005 to sign the settlement documents. He advised the two agents that they would get $4,500 each and he would get $6,000. He handed them their checks on July 29, 2005. *