Updated 5:51 p.m.
An attorney licensed to practice in the District and in Maryland pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal district court in Alexandria for participation in an insurance fraud scheme.
The lawyer, Amir Ryan Lahuti, 45, of Bethesda, charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in August, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said.
Lahuti, who has an office in Silver Spring, was not immediately reached for comment this afternoon. A member of the D.C. bar since July 1994, Lahuti has no disciplinary history on file.
The charges against Lahuti grew out of an FBI investigation of an alleged “widespread and long-running conspiracy” to defraud automobile insurance companies through false or exaggerated claims. A federal agent described, in an affidavit, a network of “runners” who solicited accident victims, referring them to chiropractic offices and law firms.
The prosecution of Lahuti stems from his relationship with a chiropractor named Jason Carle. Prosecutors said Lahuti and Carle referred clients to each other. Carle allegedly fabricated patient files to document more than $7,000 in treatment provided to Lahuti for a bicycle crash in May 2009.
The documentation Carle created falsely claimed Lahuti was incapacitated and out of work for two weeks after the reported bicycle crash, prosecutors said. Lahuti, according to the government, filed a bodily injury claim with an insurance company in November 2009. He demanded a $140,000 settlement.
Prosecutors said Lahuti received $11,000 on the bodily injury claim and $6,435 for a personal injury protection claim. Lahuti allegedly gave $3,500 to Carle for his role in the scheme. Carle pleaded guilty earlier this month and is awaiting sentencing in July.
A lawyer for Lahuti, Peter Greenspun of Fairfax, Va.’s Greenspun, Shapiro, Davis & Leary said in a statement this evening: "In May 2009 Ryan Lahuti was struck by a car causing injuries. Mr. Lahuti has admitted full responsibility though for making misrepresentations in his accident claim and for that is suffering great consequences. Ryan is devastated by his terrible judgment and looks forward to the final resolution of this case."