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If you get cases from the National Attorney Referral Service, you may want to start turning them down.
According to reports, the referral service has been paying police for accident reports to get a jump on personal injury cases. Richard Burton, owner of the company, has been charged with conspiracy and bribery in Chicago.
Two officers, who allegedly accepted $13,350 for the crash reports, have also been indicted. That's right gentlemen, step away from the car.
"Traffic Crash Scam"
Kevin Tate and Milot Cadichon gave Burton non-public information about accidents in exchange for money, the indictment says. Cadichon got at least $7,350, and Tate made at least $6,000.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the officers provided information to Burton between 2015 and 2017. They conveyed the information in various ways, including texting information via cell phone.
Burton then allegedly used the information to solicit clients for lawyers. The trio face up to five years for conspiracy and 10 years for bribery.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the "traffic crash scam" is the latest in a series of cases involving police officers on the take. Several years ago, a federal investigation code-named "Operation Tow Scam" netted 11 officers in a plot to steer work to bribe-paying truck drivers.
"Public Service Network"
The National Attorney Referral Service calls itself a "a public service network," providing nearly 25,000 attorney referrals to the public each year. The company website says callers are directed to an attorney "who handles cases in the area of law that addresses their legal matters."
The referral service advertises a wide range of practice areas, including personal injury, criminal defense, and police misconduct.