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Three personal injury attorneys have been charged in an insurance fraud scheme along with employees at Queens and Nassau, N.Y., insurance brokerages and medical facilities. The employees allegedly sold information about auto accident victims to middlemen who steered the victims to clinics for unnecessary medical treatments and to the attorneys to file phony claims. Nineteen people were arrested and arraigned on felony charges of conspiracy in the fourth degree, a Class E felony, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and State Insurance Superintendent Gregory V. Serio announced Thursday. If convicted, the defendants each face up to 4 years in prison. Attorney Hal Meyerson of Meyerson & Ramos allegedly paid for referrals of accident cases from the manager of medical facilities in Brooklyn and Queens. The victims had been sent to the facilities by “steerers” — including two former police officers — who had bought information about the victims from an employee of Elmhurst Hospital in Queens and the manager of a medical clinic affiliated with Jamaica Hospital, the criminal complaint said. Meyerson was arrested at his home early Tuesday and released from Queens Criminal Court on $5,000 bail later that day, his lawyer, Neal S. Comer of White Plains, said Thursday. Attorneys Michael Weinreb of Weinreb & Weinreb and Paul Ajlouny of the Law Offices of Paul Ajlouny participated in another fraud scheme that centered on referrals from employees of Nassau County-based insurance brokerages to steerers and then the lawyers, the complaint said. Weinreb and Ajlouny and the eight others charged in the Nassau ring were arraigned Thursday in District Court in Nassau, a spokesman for Spitzer said. Investigators from the Attorney General’s Office and the Insurance Department obtained court-ordered wiretaps and had been eavesdropping since February on the alleged steerers’ telephone conversations with the lawyers and clinic and brokerage office workers. The accident victims were allegedly encouraged to fabricate or exaggerate injuries to form the basis of claims under New York’s no-fault auto insurance law or to file suit for personal injuries. The wiretap even caught two alleged steerers discussing the arrests four months ago of six attorneys in an unrelated insurance fraud investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. “You know how they get the attorneys?” one asks another. “It’s through us, through us,” she continued. The woman was apparently referring to newspaper stories indicating that steerers had cooperated against the attorneys, the complaint explained. The investigation was continuing, the state officials said, and included assistance from the offices of New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation Inspector General Barry Friedman and New York City Investigation Commissioner Rose Gil Hearn.

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