A Tampa-area personalized harm lawyer, once lively in automobile incident, rideshare and other coverage claims litigation, has been arrested and billed with several counts of dollars laundering and grand theft.
The Pinellas County Sheriff said that attorney Christopher Michael Reynolds is accused of accepting far more than $850,000 in coverage settlement payments, but failing to pay back clients’ healthcare expenses or to ahead clients’ share to them. He put in significantly of the income on medication, journey, pornography and on sexual intercourse employees, according to the sheriff and neighborhood news studies.
“For the last many years, Reynolds has been ripping off his consumers,” Sheriff Bob Gaultieri stated at a press conference this 7 days.
He mentioned the attorney has a drug dilemma.
The 44-yr-old Reynolds was suspended from apply by the Florida Supreme Court in December just after the Florida Bar requested for an unexpected emergency get. The Bar advised the suspension right after receiving several grievances from his purchasers and from health care vendors who had been hardly ever paid. Reynolds appeared to have abandoned his regulation practice with no discover and without having guarding his clients’ interests, the Bar’s recommendation reads.
Just one client reported the attorney instructed the at-fault driver’s insurance policies company that the customer had agreed to a settlement, and forged her signature on files. He then cashed the settlement test, all without the need of her know-how, according to Bar documents. An additional said Reynolds gained a Geico insurance coverage look at for $35,000, but hardly ever communicated with the consumer.
Meanwhile, Reynolds, primarily based in Pinellas Park, Florida, appeared to be traveling when authorities were on the lookout for him. His Facebook postings confirmed him in Asheville, North Carolina, the Miami Herald described.
The sheriff stated that Reynolds graduated from law school in 2006, then practiced with a significant legislation organization for various several years right before opening his very own agency in Seminole in 2015. The sheriff’s business started investigating past Oct, after a customer of the law firm filed a complaint.
Reynolds had referred the female to a health-related provider, making use of a letter of safety.
With letters of defense, physicians concur to take aspect of the settlement or judgment rather of billing the affected person. Insurers and insurance lawyers have extended argued that the apply prospects to inflated medical charges and settlements. Below Dwelling Invoice 837, predicted to go the Florida Legislature future month, plaintiffs would have to disclose all those letters and doctors’ monetary preparations with organizations that acquire the letters from the health-related suppliers.
Reynolds settled that suit for $100,000 but pocketed the income, prompting the client to speak to legislation enforcement authorities, Gaultieri mentioned.
In all, 16 clients have come ahead with problems about the law firm, the sheriff reported.
“We identified that Reynolds stole more than $850,000 in customer dollars from 16 folks,” he stated.
The victims have been still left with hundreds of hundreds of pounds in health-related costs.
Picture: Sheriff’s press meeting on Reynolds’ arrest (YouTube/Pinellas County Sheriff)
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