White-Collar Crime

Judge lied about claimed toilet-lid attack outside courthouse, jury finds

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A former municipal judge in the village of Waterloo, New York, lied when he said two thugs choked him and beat him with a toilet tank lid outside his courthouse in 2013, a jury has concluded.

In a Friday verdict, the jury convicted Roger Barto, 54, of insurance fraud, making a false report, falsifying business records and defrauding the government, according to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and Syracuse.com.

Police said they found shards from a shattered toilet tank lid around Barto, but doctors and nurses testified that he had no apparent injuries from being choked or hit over the head.

Seneca County District Attorney Barry Porsch said Barto spent nine days hospitalized and on a pain pump after the claimed attack, the Democrat & Chronicle reports.

“The jury heard evidence that this was a way for him to get a lifetime supply of painkillers,” the DA said.

Barto’s hospital bill topped $40,000, which was paid through the county’s worker’s compensation program, Porsch said.

Barto, who is not a lawyer, was suspended with pay by the state Court of Appeals last year following his indictment, the Democrat & Chronicle reported at the time.

Before the claimed attack, Barto was on medication for lower back pain and gout, according to Porsch. He also said Barto has made 20 to 30 insurance claims.

The articles don’t include any comment from Barto or his legal counsel.

His sentencing is scheduled for October.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “DA’s office says judge faked toilet-tank cover attack; jurist now faces multi-count indictment”

Updated on Aug.12 to adjust headline.

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