16 months in prison for St. Paul lawyer who plotted to recruit patients in effort to dupe auto insurers
A longtime St. Paul personal injury attorney is going to prison for more than a year for participating in a multiyear scheme to recruit chiropractic patients that duped auto insurance companies into covering health care services.
Bradley H. Ratgen, 52, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis to a 16-month term after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud under Minnesota’s no-fault insurance law, which requires insurers to cover clients’ medical expenses regardless of who’s to blame for a crash.
Along with his prison time, Ratgen was ordered to serve one year under court supervision upon his release. He also was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay more than $22,000 in restitution.
The scheme began in 2015 and continued until late 2021, according to prosecutors. For example, according to the charging document, Ratgen would be hired to represent an illegally recruited chiropractic patient in that person’s threat to sue an auto insurance company.
“Runners,” as they are called, were paid $300 by Ratgen for each recruited patient who had actual crash injuries, was not at fault and attended multiple chiropractic visits, the prosecution outlined in one court filing.
“Ratgen, by using his status as a lawyer to commit fraud, eroded the public trust that people have in lawyers and the legal system,” prosecutors said in a filing ahead of sentencing.
Ratgen graduated from St. Paul’s William Mitchell College of Law in 1995 and founded his personal injury law firm in 2000, according to its website.
The state’s Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, the profession’s licensing regulatory body in Minnesota, filed a disciplinary case against Ratgen in July 2021 related to the fraud allegations against him.
Board Director Susan Humiston said Wednesday that Ratgen has agreed to being disbarred, which is pending before the state Supreme Court.
Ratgen’s attorney told the court in late February that his client would surrender his license and realized that “his career as a lawyer is over.”
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