Most Auto accident victims have never even heard of the word runner, or illegal runner, or even know what it means. Illegal runners are a menace to the legal industry and gives the meaning to ambulance chasing. Illegal runners operate in most major cities around the united states, but tend to take up operations in lucrative personal injury markets.
A lucrative personal injury market would be major cities such as Atlanta, or Houston. The cities have a lot of auto accidents and intern there is a lot of attorney competition. Illegal running has gone unchecked in many areas for quite some time. Georgia cracked down on illegal running last year with the passage of Illegal runners
How do illegal runners get my information
Illegal runners get your information by buying it. We have seen instances of illegal runners waiting outside of police departments for car wreck victims getting accident reports.
They can also get your information by bribing or paying
- Police officer
- Healthcare worker or ER staff
- Tow Truck operator
- 911 call center
- Police departments records department clerk
People have often told us that someone had called them the day after the accident and in some cases showed up to their house to talk about their personal injury case. When this happens, think about who you gave your phone number to, and your address. Someone got your information that you spoke with at the crash scene, hospital, tow truck, or worse, the police.
How do i know if i am dealing with an illegal runner
The answer is very simple. If you did not contact them, they should not be contacting you. No one should be calling you or showing up at your house, if they are, they are probably an illegal runner.
How are Illegal runners paid?
Illegal runners are paid by the case or client. An attorney may wait to pay them once they have signed them up for a case. Doctors use Illegal runners as well, they pay them much in the same way. It is incentive based pay for which illegal runners will do anything to get you to sign a contract or get you to go to a particular doctor. Illegal runners do not care about you, or your case, all they care about is getting money.
Who the heck pays illegal runners for my personal injury case?
Lawyers, Doctors, anyone who could benefit from you being their client or patient. Most lawyers and doctors do not practice this type of illegal activity. There are a few who will do it. They pay the illegal runners money for your personal injury case, and in some cases, that might be thousands of dollars. It benefits the Lawyer because he did not have spend thousands of dollars in advertising to bring a case to his office. They crunch the numbers and its cheaper to use a runner to get a personal injury case any other way.
What kind of representation do you think you will receive using a illegal runner? Do you think it’s going to be high quality representation. If they are breaking the law to get you in the door, what will they do when they have you as a client or patient?
In some states, Illegal runners are a lot more of a problem than in others. In florida illegal runners may be paid by a doctor or an attorney. In some instances, they may even stage an accident.
Five people and two physical therapist were arrested in Miami and charged with insurance fraud back in Augusta 2022. They were staging car accidents and billing the insurance for the treatment and damages.
Authorities said the scheme worked like this:
- A car accident was staged
- The injured “victims” were taken to clinics in Miami
- The “victims” were paid anywhere from 1,000-2000 dollars to register as treating patients
- The doctors would instruct the “victims” to complain of certain types of injuries
- Car insurance companies would then be billed for the treatment
Another case involving an attorney out of Miami-Dade area involved over 23 million dollars in Fraudulent insurance claims. 2 business’ owners used there chiropractic clinics to generate false pip claims. They would pay tow truck drivers to refer cases to a corrupt attorney and then would treat the injured victims. This ended up with 6 people arrested and various charges.
New York-New Jersey
One of the biggest pip fraud cases involving illegal runners occurred in New York and involved over 100 million dollars. The people charged would use other doctor licenses’ to open clinics.
They would then bribe 911 operators, hospital staff, tow truck operators,, and even the police to acquire accident victims information. They would then solicited there services to the victims and oftentimes subject them to unnecessary medical procedures.
They would then overbill the pip carrier receiving millions of dollars in pip benefits. Pip was designed to reduce medical cost in the event of an accident, this corruption just drives premiums up.
San Antonio Illegal Runner caught leaving on a one way flight to Mexico
Pete Gongora Jr. was arrested by the FBI at San Antonio international airport on a one way flight to Mexico to be with his girlfriend. He was wanted on charges for Fraud and tax evasion. He illegally collected proceeds that was suppose to go to Doctors and The clients of the attorneys he worked for.
In a nutshell, he stole money in excess of 1.5 million dollars. Gongora claimed he fell on rough times when he filed bankruptcy in 2013, at that time he owned the IRS 1.6 million dollar tax liability. The affidavit said Gongora and his wife reported substantial amounts of income on their tax returns between 2003 to 2013 but that Gongora failed to pay his full tax obligations.
The government charges that Gongora operated the law offices of Charles Harrell, Patrick Clarke, and Ronald ray Higgins. Gongora basically had he hands in the cash register, he had access to trust accounts. Gongora would steal money out of the trust account that was supposed to be used to pay clients and doctors out of settlement proceeds.
Lawyers in most states have to have a trust account for which all the settlement proceeds go into, then they disperse the funds to whoever is owed money after the case has been settled. When the insurance company sends the check, it immediately gets deposited into the firm’s trust account to disperse all the funds.
Gongora would often fail to notify clients that their case had settled and would also fail to give the clients there disbursement from the trust account, instead just keeping it for himself.
Some of things Gongora bought with this money
- Texas house on the coast-$600,000
- $850,000 house in the Dominion (exclusive neighborhood in San Antonio)
- Mercedes-28,000 ( must be a cheap model)
When Gongora was going through his bankruptcy , he spent more than 28,000 on spurs tickets.
If convicted of either the tax evasion or bankruptcy fraud charges, he faces up to five years in prison.( yes, that’s it)
This guy ruined quite a few lives. This is an example of what unethical practices can get you. When you hire an attorney, you go to them, they do not come to you. You call them, they don’t come to your house unannounced.
Ilegal Runners give personal injury a bad name
Illegal runners do not serve you the client, they only serve themselves. When you have a settlement ask your attorney to see the breakdown of the proceeds, if they will not show it to you, there is a problem. You can report any unethical activity to the State Bar association