D.A.: Lawyer Won, Then Stole Clients' Malpractice Settlements
The art of ambulance chasing has been forever sullied: Manhattan personal injury lawyer Marc A. Bernstein has been collared for swiping $600,000 in settlement monies from his clients.
How did Bernstein, who will face larceny and scheme to defraud charges, pull off his grift? Pretty easily. The Manhattan District Attorney's office says their investigation revealed "that Bernstein engaged in a scheme to steal from his victims, most of whom were individuals left physically weakened or disabled by medical malpractice or car accidents. In the typical case, Bernstein had one of his law firm associates negotiate a settlement on behalf of the victim, and Bernstein took control of the incoming settlement monies. Instead of safeguarding these funds and distributing them to his clients, Bernstein stole the money."
But Bernstein can't be all bad, in 2006 he faced down then-rising star Attorney General Eliot Spitzer on the behalf of Jesse Alston, a prison inmate who claimed a New York correctional facility owed him damages for "improper medical treatment." No word as to whether Bernstein...or, er, Alston received a settlement.
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