Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Conviction Draws Interim Suspension

An attorney's conviction drew an interim suspension pending final discipline from the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported on the conviction

A Minnetonka attorney who worked with chiropractors to rip off auto insurance companies was sentenced Wednesday to 16 months in prison.

William Kyle Sutor, 38, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Federal prosecutors said Sutor hired “runners” to recruit clients who were supposedly injured in car crashes.

The same runners would work with chiropractors who would fraudulently bill auto insurance companies for those clients’ care, taking advantage of the state’s no-fault insurance law, which requires insurers to pay their clients’ medical bills, whether the crash was their fault or not.

Numerous chiropractors have been prosecuted in the scheme, some going to prison for several years, but Sutor is the only lawyer charged so far.

It is a state, not federal, crime for an attorney to work with runners. What got Sutor prosecuted in U.S. District Court was drafting letters to insurance companies demanding payment for claims of chiropractic care that he knew were false.

As part of his agreement to plead guilty, Sutor is paying back the $14,612 that an insurer lost in the scheme in 2015-16. Sutor’s cut in that case was just $440, his attorney John Marti said.

In arguing for a more lenient sentence, Sutor blamed mentors and fellow attorneys Matthew Landau, starting in 2009, and Bruce Goldstein, in 2011 and beyond, for showing him how to use runners to drum up business.

“He got caught up and it took him a while to break away,” Marti said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David MacLaughlin said it’s “nonsense” to suggest Sutor was only going along with the way his more senior colleagues operated. When he left Landau’s firm for Goldstein’s, Sutor had two runners of his own and continued to work with them, paying them on 86 separate occasions.

At the time, Sutor was making as much as $400,000 a year at the firm.

“He knew exactly what was going on,” MacLaughlin said.

Sentencing guidelines called for 10 to 16 months in prison. Marti asked for a probationary sentence, citing concerns about the coronavirus in prisons and saying Sutor will be punished enough when he presumably has his law license taken away.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Brasel called Sutor’s behavior “particularly egregious.”

“You deliberately and regularly crossed ethical and legal boundaries … for your own personal benefit,” she said.

Sutor is to report for prison Feb. 1. He’ll spend another year on supervised release when he gets out.

(Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2021/04/a-minnetonka-attorney-who-worked-with-chiropractors-to-rip-off-auto-insurance-companies-was-sentenced-wednesday-to-16-months.html

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