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Prosecutor urges 18-month sentence for lawyer’s insurance fraud

Saying the motive appeared to be “pure greed,” a federal prosecutor recommends at least a year and a half behind bars for a former Maryland lawyer who admitted padding his own personal injury claim with phony medical records.

Ryan Lahuti was accused in connection with the alleged long-established Washington-area practice of recruiting auto accident victims and bolstering their claims with questionable medical treatment.

A chiropractor who colluded with Lahuti to produce a “fake file full of treatment records” was sentenced last week to 10 months, split between 6 months in prison and 4 months of home confinement. The “runner” who hooked up accident victims with Lahuti and other lawyers earlier was handed a 26-month sentence.

Lahuti settled his own accident claim for $11,000 (after an initial demand of $140,000) and paid the chiropractor approximately $3,500 for his participation, according to the prosecutor’s sentencing brief.

Lahuti faces sentencing Friday before Alexandria federal judge Anthony Trenga.

Another Washington-area lawyer who has followed the Lahuti case said he is disappointed at a recommendation for only 18 months. Joel A. Skirble said the prosecutor failed to consider the impact of Lahuti’s practice on society in general and the Spanish-speaking community in particular.

By Peter Vieth

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