AUGUST 17, 2007
A Pennsylvania Superior Court judge has been indicted for scamming two insurance companies of $440,000 by falsely claiming he suffered debilitating injuries in a minor car accident.
Federal prosecutors say Judge Michael Thomas Joyce claimed that a simple fender-bender left him in constant pain and unable to exercise yet he went inline skating and scuba diving, played golf and exercised regularly at a private gym.
The judge bilked the insurance companies by filing numerous false claims with his insurance company as well as the other driverâ??s insurer relating to the 2001 accident in which neither police nor medics were called to the scene.
The judgeâ??s carrier, Erin Insurance, paid him $390,000 for the false injuries and the other driverâ??s company, State Farm, paid him $50,000. The money was used to travel, purchase real estate, an airplane and a motorcycle.
Now the disgraced judge, who once served as a presidential law clerk under Gerald Ford, faces 120 years in prison and a fine of up to $2.25 million. Joyce was first elected as an Erie County judge in 1985 and he joined the state Superior Court as an appellate judge in 1998.
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