Lawyer sentenced for using unaware plaintiffs to file hundreds of disability suits
Besides having to serve a four-year prison sentence, a Florida man will have to pay a $200,000 fine, to forfeit $643,102 and to serve three years of probation related to sham lawsuits filed under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Image from Shutterstock.
A lawyer accused of filing nearly 300 lawsuits on behalf of two people who weren’t clients has been sentenced to four years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe of the Southern District of New York sentenced Stuart Finkelstein, 68, of Davie, Florida, on Aug. 3, according to a press release, the New York Post and Reuters via Above the Law.
Finkelstein pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud in the case in July 2022.
The sham suits were filed against businesses in New York and Florida under the Americans With Disabilities Act, prosecutors said. Neither plaintiff was aware of the suits.
Finkelstein netted nearly $650,000 for himself as a result of the suits, prosecutors said.
Besides having to serve a prison sentence, Finkelstein will have to pay a $200,000 fine, to forfeit $643,102 and to serve three years of probation.
Finkelstein was disbarred in New York in 2007 but reinstated in 2016, according to state records.
Finkelstein wasn’t licensed in Florida, so he partnered with a lawyer in that state who filed the suits, the Miami Herald reported in April. The Florida lawyer was suspended for five years as a result, although he said he didn’t know that there was no legitimate plaintiff.