Jacoby & Meyers brand used by lawyer brokerage to commit insurance fraud, alleges OC Grand Jury – Press Enterprise

From billboards to daytime TV, advertisements for the law firm of Jacoby & Meyers are inescapable.

It can be difficult getting through a television show or sporting event without hitting a commercial for the 49-year-old law group, said to have 300 attorneys in 50 states. It’s even the official law firm for the Los Angeles Dodgers and earned a line in a Beastie Boys song: “Got more suits than Jacoby & Meyers.”

But the company started by Len Jacoby and Stephen Meyers in 1972 in recent years has been nothing more than a name, a brand sold to a marketing whiz operating what Orange County authorities allege is a broker service for lawyers in violation of workers’ compensation law.

The operation falsely advertised phone numbers under the “Jacoby & Meyers” name, giving the public the impression they could call and hire the law firm, according to an April 20 Orange County Grand Jury indictment. Marketer Steve Mehr was charged with multiple insurance fraud schemes from 2011 to 2016. Also charged in some of the illegal marketing operations was George Hobson III.

Callers to the advertised numbers connected with operators for a company called Web Shark 360, formed by Mehr and based in Irvine. Potential clients were recruited through toll-free telephone numbers, online inquiry submissions or web-based live-chats

The clients were sent to attorneys who paid a monthly fee for referrals or kicked back a part of their earnings after the cases concluded. Named in the indictment are six of these attorneys, five of whom are from Orange County and practice workers’ compensation law. Personal injury law firms also paid for referrals.

Forty-four witnesses testified before the grand jury, according to the 43-page indictment. Besides the Jacoby & Meyers debacle, the panel heard that from Oct. 1, 2010, to Oct. 1, 2016, Mehr and Hobson collected $3.8 million from 22 workers’ compensation providers and government agencies, including Los Angeles and Riverside counties, for court services provided by companies owned by the two men. The companies, which gathered documents for subpoenas and provided translation services, were part of the insurance scams, said Kimberly Edds, a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office.

California law prohibits insurance providers from paying bills for services procured through unlawful referral schemes, Edds said.

Mehr and Hobson are awaiting arraignment on the charges and have been released on $100,000 bond each.

Telephone messages to “Jacoby & Meyers” officials were not returned. A woman who answered the phone assured it is a real law firm and that she was the receptionist, but she twice forwarded the call to a voicemail message that didn’t include a name. Jacoby still has an active state license to practice law; Meyers died in 1996.

Mehr is represented by Bobby Taghavi at the “Sweet James” law group, another heavy marketer in the Los Angeles basin, as well as attorney Steven Baric. Mehr also is represented by the Hueston Hennigan law firm. All declined comment.

Hobson’s attorney, John Barnett, declined comment.

Press Enterprise