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HOUSTON -- State Representative Ron Reynolds surrendered to the Montgomery County Sheriff's office Tuesday on barratry charges, commonly known as ambulance chasing.

He was released after posting bond.

Arrest warrants were issued Monday for eight Houston-area lawyers, including Reynolds. Investigators say they were involved in a kickback scheme to sign up clients from traffic accidents.

Dozens of law enforcement officers also raided multiple law offices and two chiropractic clinics Monday morning allegedly involved in thecase.

Reynolds and the other attorneys are accused of paying kickbacks to Robert Valdez, the alleged ringleader of the operation. Prosecutors said Valdez routinely scour accident reports, then approach and aggressively persuade crash victims to sign contracts for legal representation.

We have information from a confidential informant, that Ron Reynolds delivered cash in envelopes to Mr. Valdez, in exchange for referring clients to him on numerous occasions, said Phil Grant, First Assistant Montgomery County District Attorney.

Grant said records indicate a simple fender would fetch $600 in kickbacks, while a commercial vehicle accident commanded $6,000 or more. Additionally, Valdez is accused of steering patients to two chiropractic clinics in Northeast Houston, which he partially owned.

Reynolds faced the same charge in Harris County last summer, but the case was dropped after the lead investigator faced some personal legal troubles that potentially tainted the case.

It appears that Representative Reynolds stepped away from this organization during the period of time he was charged in Harris County, Grant said.

After his case was dismissed, it appears that he got right back in, he said.

Grant called the operation extremely well-organized and prolific and estimated Valdez signed up hundreds of clients for hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks every year. He allegedly even ran the scheme from the Montgomery County Jail, while incarcerated on an unrelated charge. As a habitual felony offender, Valdez faces up to life in prison upon conviction, according to prosecutors.

Grant said in many accident cases victims really don t need a lawyer, and can receive a reasonable settlement on their own from the at-fault party s insurance company. It s why legislators passed a 30-day no contact law, which prohibits attorneys or their representatives from hounding accident victims. After 30 days, they can only do so in writing.

You can t contact them in person, you can t call them up on the phone, and you can t give them the hard sell like at a car dealership, Grant said.

Authorities also served arrest warrants on the following Houston attorneys: Darren Miller, Clyde Miller, Jerry Gottesman, Jeffrey Nathan, Nahn Nguyen, Ty Gibson, and Nader Rabie. Investigators seized records from their offices as well as the Greenspoint Health and Injury Center and Eastex Health and Injury Center. The I-Team was unable to reach any of them for comment as of press time.

The Montgomery County District Attorney s office was assisted by the Montgomery County Sheriff s Department, Conroe Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Rangers, Houston Police Department and the FBI.

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