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Indicted Appeals Judge Suspended

Posted Aug 20, 2007 5:15 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Pennsylvania appeals judge has been suspended as he fights charges of insurance fraud.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered the suspension of Judge Michael Joyce on Friday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Joyce was indicted on Wednesday for mail fraud and money laundering. He is accused of claiming he was suffering painful injuries from a car accident at the same time he played golf and went scuba diving. He collected $440,000 from two insurance companies. Joyce refutes the charges.

Joyce will continue to receive his annual salary of $165,432, the Erie Times-News (reg. req.) reports. Joyce said in a statement that he anticipated the suspension.

"I understood that it was going to happen,” he said. “It's a normal procedure. It is an appropriate action under the circumstances to protect the integrity of the courts. I will not appeal the court's decision.”

Prosecutors say Joyce used judicial letterhead to send his initial claim to Erie Insurance Group, which paid $390,000 in claims, the Erie Times-News reports in a separate story. Erie and State Farm Insurance did not investigate the claims.

A hat tip to How Appealing, which posted the stories.

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