YOUNGSTOWN — Anthony J. Fusco, 33, of Cascade Drive, Boardman, whose law license is inactive, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to one count of felony insurance fraud.
Authorities said he forged documents related to client medical bills of about $800,000 to obtain money.
Fusco remains free on bond and will be sentenced later. There is no sentencing date yet listed in his case files.
According to Fusco’s indictment, from about March 1, 2017, through about Sept. 30, 2019, Fusco presented false claims to one or more insurance companies. The maximum penalty for the offense is three years in prison. Fusco’s clients had no knowledge of Fusco’s acts, prosecutors say.
According to the Ohio Supreme Court, Fusco was admitted to the practice of law in Ohio Nov. 16, 2015. His law license is currently inactive, which means he is not allowed to practice law in Ohio or hold himself out as authorized to practice law in Ohio.
Jennifer Paris, assistant county prosecutor, told Judge Anthony D’Apolito that prosecutors are recommending that Fusco get 18 months in prison, and prosecutors will not oppose judicial release, which is an early release from prison approved by the judge. If Fusco is granted judicial release, prosecutors will ask for Fusco to be placed on five years of community control, sometimes known as probation.
During Fusco’s hearing Tuesday, Fusco’s attorney, Justin Markota, noted that if Fusco is sentenced to 18 months in prison, he would be eligible for judicial release “upon delivery to the prison.”
The judge said none of Fusco’s clients were “out anything. All of the clients got all of the money they were supposed to.” He said, “I have no victims who have asked for anything” in restitution. “It is my understanding that restitution is difficult if not impossible to ascertain,” the judge said.
He said the insurance companies who paid the claims “had every opportunity to do their own investigation on the bills that were submitted.” The judge called this case a “policing of our profession.”