A Twin Cities personal injury attorney has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for participating in a scheme to defraud auto insurance companies through bogus chiropractic claims.

William K. Sutor III, 38, of Minnetonka, was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in St. Paul after pleading guilty in February to conspiracy to commit health care fraud in connection with the scheme, which started with "runners" who brought him clients who had been in vehicle crashes.

Sutor is scheduled to enter prison on Feb. 1. After 16 months, he will be on supervised release for one year. He's also responsible for paying $14,612 in restitution.

While the prosecution won the prison time for Sutor that it sought, the defense had argued for nothing more than probation.

Sutor's attorneys pointed out in a presentencing filing that the career he "worked so hard to build is likely over, and his young family is terrified that their devoted and loving husband and father will be absent in the midst of a pandemic." They also noted that Sutor had no criminal history previous to this case and has cooperated with authorities.

On three occasions, Sutor worked with two chiropractors on the scheme. He paid the runners $300 per client, and chiropractors paid between $1,000 and $1,500, Sutor said. Then Sutor billed the insurance companies for chiropractic services that he knew the patient never received.

In June 2015, a runner brought Sutor a prospective client. The following April, Sutor submitted a letter to the insurance company falsely stating the client, who was actually an undercover agent, had received chiropractic treatment totaling $24,000 to settle a bodily injury claim.

Sutor, who graduated from Hamline University School of Law in 2008 and began practicing in Minnesota in 2010, specialized in personal injury cases involving vehicles, bicycles and falls, according to his website.

An investigation into Sutor's actions also is underway by the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board. A ruling by the board is pending and could lead to discipline up to disbarment.