Two Attorneys Formerly with Philadelphia Law Firm Charged with Legal Fee Fraud Scheme

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Scott E. Diamond, 62, of Philadelphia, PA, and Jesse M. Cohen, 42, of Los Angeles, CA, were charged together by Information with one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. Diamond was an attorney who was a partner in a Philadelphia law firm, and Cohen was an associate in the same law firm. The firm specialized in complex commercial litigation, representing plaintiffs in personal injury matters, and representing insurance companies in insurance subrogation matters.

According to the Information, for approximately two years from 2018 through 2020, Diamond and Cohen engaged in a scheme to divert the fees from numerous personal injury and subrogation matters from the firm to themselves by secretly resolving the cases without the other firm partners knowing about the resolutions. Diamond and Cohen then caused insurance companies and other payors on those cases to send legal fees to themselves instead of to their employer, the law firm. When that was not possible, Diamond went through the firm’s mail and removed checks covering legal fees on the stolen cases made payable to the firm. Diamond then deposited checks from the cases they diverted into bank accounts that he controlled and shared the proceeds with Cohen. Diamond concealed the illegal conduct from his employer by closing the files for those matters and making it appear in the computer records of the firm that there were no settlements or resolutions and that the cases were not viable.

The personal injury and subrogation matters that Diamond and Cohen diverted from the law firm generated approximately $750,000 in initial payments to the defendants, from which they distributed funds to clients and covered other costs in the litigation, maintaining the balance of the fraud proceeds (approximately $320,000) for themselves.

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If convicted, the defendants each face maximum possible sentences of 40 years in prison.

The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen.

An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.