Paralegal Charged With Forging Judges’ Signatures

     MANHATTAN (CN) – A paralegal for personal injury firm Paris & Chaikin was indicted on charges of forging signatures of 76 Supreme Court judges on more than 100 fake judicial orders.
     Thomas Rubino, 42, pleaded not guilty Wednesday and was held on a $25,000 bond.
     He faces up to seven years if convicted of forging documents on settlement agreements while working at Paris & Chaikin in Manhattan between 2011 and 2013.
     According to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Rubino would get emails from clients that required him to draft court papers and file them.
     But between late June 2011 and October 2013, Rubino forged the signature of 76 judges on 117 documents under the guise of judicial orders approving the transfer of structured settlements, Vance said.
     He would cut a judge’s signature from a legitimate document and tape it to a fake order, Vance said.
     The documents were then sent to clients who transmitted the orders to their clients, who then released the funds to those who bought the annuities.
     “The structured-settlement process is regulated in New York for a very important reason – to protect the best interests of the individuals receiving settlements,” Vance said. “When Rubino allegedly forged signatures on 117 judicial orders, he caused financial harm to the companies that relied on the legitimacy of the process, deprived the individuals of their right to protection, and undermined the authority of state Supreme Court justices.”
     When at least two such transfers were called into question in 2013, Rubino left the firm to address a family emergency, Vance said.
     Rubino has never returned, the DA said.
     Paris & Chaikin did not respond to a request for comment Thursday morning.

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