According to a Rolling Stone investigative report, prior to landing his gig as one of Donald Trump’s personal attorneys, Michael Cohen was a personal injury lawyer – one who found himself representing numerous clients involved in auto insurance schemes.
Cohen represented numerous clients who were involved in deliberate, planned car crashes as part of an attempt to cheat insurance companies. Furthermore, investigations by insurers showed that several of Cohen's clients were affiliated with insurance fraud rings that repeatedly staged "accidents." And at least one person Cohen represented was indicted on criminal charges of insurance fraud while the lawsuit he had filed on her behalf was pending.
According to Rolling Stone, Cohen was never shown to be aware of the criminal activity perpetrated by his clients, nor was he ever charged in relation to those activities.
Cohen's work on behalf of accident victims was, if nothing else, prolific. In Cohen's challenge to the April 9th raid, his attorneys told a Manhattan judge that Cohen had "hundreds of different clients" from 1996 to 2006, when he ran his own private legal practice. "Negligence," which likely included the bodily injury claims filed on behalf of accident victims, then represented 90 percent of his legal work, Cohen said in a unrelated deposition obtained by Rolling Stone.
Much of this work consisted of filing private arbitration claims, which are typically not a matter of public record. However, auto insurers dragged Cohen into court nearly 100 times between 1998 and 2003, asking judges to halt numerous claims he had filed for a variety of reasons, including fraud.
In another coincidence where no wrongdoing on Cohen’s part was ever documented, his first job out of law school was working with an attorney who was notorious for unethical practices that eventually caught up to him.
Melvyn J. Estrin began exploiting New York’s insurance laws decades ago.
Back in the 1970s, Estrin sent letters to physicians encouraging them to take advantage of the state’s new no-fault insurance law and run up the medical bills on accident victims. (A U.S. Senator got hold of one of these “Dear Doctor” letters and published it in the Congressional Record back in 1976 as an example of conduct that “borders on the unethical.”) In 1995, Cohen’s last year at the firm, Estrin was indicted in a scheme to bribe insurance adjusters to inflate damage estimates and expedite claims. He pleaded guilty to second-degree bribery.
And then again, Cohen was mixed up with another fraudulent endeavor, though he was not implicated in the criminal activity:
Incidentally, Cohen also did legal work for Life Quality Medical P.C., whose principal, according to a ProPublica/WNYC investigation, was Dr. Zhanna Kanevsky. Kanevsky was indicted in 2005 by the New York Attorney General's office on charges of insurance fraud, grand larceny and falsifying business records for her role in a fraud ring that was secretly run by a Ukrainian émigré and his wife.