Before becoming President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen represented clients as a personal injury lawyer who reportedly rented vehicles, bought insurance, and then staged car accidents in order to get large sums of insurance money, Rolling Stone reported on Wednesday.
Rolling Stone’s investigation also revealed that Cohen represented a medical clinic where a doctor was convicted of fraudulently filing false medical claims on victims of staged accidents.
In one of the incidents mentioned in Rolling Stone’s report, Cohen filed a lawsuit against Brian McFarland on behalf of his then-client Tara Pizzingrillo.
Pizzingrillo claimed that she was a passenger in a car that was hit by a rented vehicle, driven by McFarland, in 1999. She said she suffered bulging disks due to the accident and requested $1 million from Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s parent company, ELRAC Inc., to cover medical expenses.
It was later revealed that Pizzingrillo and McFarland were part of an insurance fraud ring that frequently faked crashes by driving rented U-Haul trucks into the vehicles of their friends in order to file fake injury claims and split the insurance money.
Pizzingrillo and McFarland’s insurance ring filed fake personal injury claims worth more than $350,000 before they were caught and charged with third-degree insurance fraud. There is no proof, however, that Cohen knew the claims were fraudulent when he filed them and he was never charged in any of the cases.
Cohen also represented Life Quality Medical P.C.’s Dr. Zhanna Kanevsky just before she was indicted in 2005 on charges of insurance fraud, grand larceny, and falsifying business records as part of her role in a Ukrainian fraud ring, according to the Rolling Stone’s report.
The indictment said that patients involved in the Ukrainian scheme all received the same medical treatment, regardless of injury, and went through the same process to receive a diagnosis: three MRI scans, kidney sonograms, and nerve testing.
Kanevsky pleaded guilty to the charges and lost her medical license for three years. Cohen was not implicated in that case, though another attorney named Albert Rudgayzer was indicted because he reportedly referred clients to the clinic in exchange for a share of the money they received once claims were resolved.
The rumors regarding Cohen’s previous clients comes a month after FBI agents raided his home, office, and hotel. The agents reportedly seized materials related to, among other things, his heavily scrutinized payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.