NY Attorney Changes Plea in Ponzi, Auto Insurance Fraud Scheme

September 19, 2023

A disbarred New York attorney has changed his plea to guilty in connection with an $19 million Ponzi scheme and a $30 million auto insurance fraud.

Robert Wisnicki, 44, of Forest Hills, pleaded to guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, both of which could result in a sentence of five years in prison. He was one of 13 people, including doctors and a police officer, charged in 2022 in the long-running fraud scheme.

Wisnicki also agreed to forfeit property and pay restitution of $18.8 million.

“As he has now admitted, Robert Wisnicki committed a wide array of criminal acts as part of multiple schemes designed to line his own pockets and cover his tracks,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement Monday. “As a practicing attorney, Wisnicki knew better, but he flouted the law anyway, even going so far as to obstruct justice and commit perjury while testifying before a grand jury.”

Wisnicki pleaded not guilty in 2022 but changed his plea this week. The original indictment can be seen here.

The Wisnicki law firm specialized in real estate transactional work, prosecutors said. In 2007, some of his clients asked him to identify investment opportunities. But the real estate investments did not pay off and, instead of alerting clients, Wisnicki and others used funds from his other clients and from new investors to cover the losses, a classic Ponzi scheme, authorities said.

Wisnicki also laundered money for an organization that utilized no-fault auto insurance laws, prosecutors said. New Jersey and New York require auto insurers to pay some claims to medical providers, without assigning fault to any party. A separate indictment accused a man named Alexander Gulkarov, also known as “Little Alex,” of fraudulently owning and controlling more than a dozen medical professional organizations. The scheme allegedly took $30 million from insurers since 2014.

Charges are still pending against several other defendants. Sentencing for Wisnicki is set for Jan. 12, 2024.

Topics Auto Fraud New York

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