Haddonfield lawyer admits to doctoring asbestos suits in N.Y. to increase business
By Jessica Beym, South Jersey Times
A former attorney in the Haddonfield office of a firm specializing in toxic tort litigation today admitted that he falsified defendants’ names in more than 100 asbestos suits filed in New York State courts in order to increase business and his standing in the firm, according to U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.
Arobert C. Tonogbanua, 44, of Sicklerville pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden federal court to one count of wire fraud.
Authorities said Tonogbanua admitted that he fraudulently inserted the names of his former law firm’s clients into legitimately filed asbestos suits and charged the clients more than $1 million in attorney’s fees, costs and settlements to defend them.
Tonogbanua admitted that, unbeknownst to anyone else at the firm, he forwarded those fraudulently altered complaints to the firm’s clients, their representatives and insurance companies.
Authorities estimate that Tonogbanua inserted his firm’s clients’ names into more than 100 lawsuits, resulting in the generation of more than $1 million in fraudulent fees, costs and settlements. Tonogbanua is said to have personally benefitted from the scheme through bonuses and increased compensation. Read More