White-Collar Crime

Retired Pa. Judge Convicted in Auto Accident Fraud

A retired judge in Pennsylvania was convicted today of mail fraud and money laundering in connection with the injuries he claimed to have suffered in a 2001 auto accident.

Michael Joyce falsely claimed to have suffered debilitating neck and back injuries in a fender bender and misused his position as a judge in order to collect $440,000 from two insurers, the prosecution contended. The defense said the accident aggravated pre-existing injuries, but the jury apparently believed the government, according to the Associated Press.

“The trial, which began Oct. 21, has been filled with testimony about Mr. Joyce golfing, taking flying lessons and scuba diving following the accident,” reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in an article written before the verdict. “But the defense has presented evidence that Mr. Joyce truly believed he was injured and has produced binders of medical records to show his many trips to various physicians.”

Joyce is to be sentenced in March, although his lawyers say they will appeal. The conviction could raise an issue about Joyce’s pension from his former $165,000-a-year job as a state superior court judge, the AP notes.

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