Richard J. Weiner, a prominent New Jersey personal injury lawyer, paid a $5,000 federal civil penalty for sending solicitation letters to families of passengers killed in the February crash of commuter jet in Buffalo, N.Y., authorities announced Wednesday.

A federal statute bars unsolicited contacts by lawyers with victims or their families within 45 days of an air-carrier accident. Weiner admitted in a settlement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Buffalo that he sent the families letters within that time.

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