Law & Order (1990–2010): Season 11, Episode 19 - Whiplash - full transcript

When an Hispanic male is found dead from a severe chest trauma, Detectives Briscoe and Green discover that he and two other illegal immigrants had been in a staged automobile accident. As evidence mounts linking numerous similar car crashes with the same employer, chiropractor, insurance adjuster, and lawyers, A.D.A.s McCoy and Carmichael must determine who is ultimately responsible for the man's death, from which so many others profited.

In the criminal justice system

the people are represented by two
separate yet equally important groups,

the police
who investigate crime

and the district attorneys
who prosecute the offenders.

These are their stories.

Your parents hated me, right?
They didn't hate you.

Maybe not your dad,
but your mom.

She didn't hate you,
she liked you.

Did you see the way she
kept checking out my hair?

That's just how she is.

And could her ring
be any bigger?

What are you doing?

They're gonna come out
any second now.

I need a cigarette.

Then let's just go around
the corner then, okay?


CSU: Hispanic male, 30 to 35.

Couple coming out of the
restaurant found him like this.

What do you make of it?

Abrasions on the neck
and a bruise.

Looks like it runs
down to his chest.


Maybe just some
kind of fight.

Found about 250 bucks
in his pocket.

ED: Any ID?
OFFICER: Nothing.

Either they took the wallet
or he didn't have one.

BRISCOE: How long's
he been dead?

An hour. Maybe less.

Anybody see anything?

Well, Unis are still
canvassing the area.

We did find some other
stuff in his pockets.

Bus transfer.

Stop's around the corner.

Should've took the subway.

Any chance we can
get a rush on him?

Soon as I rush
10 other jobs.

Okay, how about a

Well, looks like he's
from Mexico. Central America.

Solid build,
calluses on his hands.

I'm guessing some kind
of manual laborer.

So what did him in?

All right,
see this dark area?

That's his heart.

He's got a
widened media stinum.

I was gonna say that.

If he was over 50
I'd bethinking

or high blood pressure.

And if he was 30?

Well, it might be
an aneurysm.

I won't know until
I cut him open.

ED: What would cause that
in a guy his age?

Well, considering his
other bruising,

some kind of trauma
to his chest.

So something hit him.

Or someone.

MTA says the transfer indicates he
boarded a Q-32 bus at 5:34 p.m.

Q-32 originates
in Jackson Heights.

How'd you know that?

My sister lives in Queens.

So he's taking the bus into the
city with $250 in his pocket.

Well, we figure he was
on a job somewhere,

got paid, and then
was on his way home.

Or out on the town
for the night.

Any luck pinning down
where he worked?

None of the drivers on that
route recognize him so far.

Rodgers says he had
callused hands,

like he worked construction
or something like that.

Well, how about
the inventory search?

We got keys, we got a
comb, candy wrappers.

Oh, and this.

A Brief History
of Marionettes.

Well, it could be a program
insert from a puppet show.

Well, we'll check the
ads in the weeklies.

Club soda.

We're an open congregation.

Most of the people who
come here are transients.

When you say transients, you
mean illegal immigrants?

God doesn't discriminate,

This man might have
had little kids

who attended your
puppet show last Sunday.

That was coordinated through
our children's service.

Well, who runs that?


Well, what about
on Sunday?


I think Norma Lopez
was here on Sunday.

ED: Thank you.

Do you know this man?

We found his body
on the street yesterday.

We're just trying
to identify him.

Look, I don't want to
get his family in trouble.

Hey, we're not
from the INS, Ms. Lopez.

It looks like Marta's father.

She's six.

Does Marta have
a last name?


BRISCOE: Any idea
where they live?

I'm not sure.

But the little girl, she's
in first grade at P.S. 73.

They should have
an address.

ED: Thank you.

ED: Mrs. Santiago?

She is just not
feeling too good.

And where's her husband?

San Salvador.

Visiting family.

Mrs. Santiago,

we found this man
on the street.

We just want to find out
who's responsible for this.

And when she tells you
it's her husband,

the immigration people come and
take her and her children away.

No, nobody's gonna
take anybody anyplace.

I promise.


It's Hector.

It's Hector.

We're very sorry,
Mrs. Santiago.

We need to ask you a couple of
questions if you're up to it, okay?


Your husband was found
on East 56th Street.

Do you have any idea
why he would be there?

Maybe my Hector
was working near there.

Mrs. Santiago, did he
get paid on Wednesdays?

No, Hector got paid
every day.


We found $250
in his pocket.


BRISCOE: Is it possible that he
was doing something illegal?

Something he didn't
want you to know about?

No. Not Hector.

You didn't report
him missing?

I was afraid
to call the police.

I kept telling myself that
he was going to be okay.

He wasn't feeling well
on Tuesday.

What was wrong?

He said that he had
hurt himself at work.

Who's he work for?


This man, Mike Anderson.

I wanted him to rest,
but our baby was sick.

Dios mio.

I haven't seen
Hector Santiago in weeks.

Well, where'd you
think he was?

Skiing in Switzerland?

I just didn't need him
for any jobs.

His wife was under the impression
he was still working for you.

Maybe he didn't want
her to know that he wasn't.

Maybe you paid him off to
duck a workers' comp claim.

What are you talking about?

Hector's dead.


His wife said he hurt himself
on the job here Tuesday.

Tuesday? He wasn't here.
You can ask these guys.

Do you have any
renovation somewhere else?

Hey, Hector was a good worker.
I had nothing against him.

I just didn't
have the work.

Truth is, I felt really bad laying
him off, if you want to know.

Bad enough to help him
find another job?

Hey, if Hector needed a job
there's a corner up in Harlem

where these guys hang
out looking for day work.

That's where I found him.

Anybody here know a
Hector Santiago?

We're with the police,
not Immigration.

Come on, bro,
help us out.

Come on, guys. We just want to
find somebody who knows him.

I know him.
What do you want?

When was the last time
you saw him?

Monday. What are you
looking for him for?

Where'd you
see him on Monday?

Here, looking for work.

Any luck?

Yeah. He got picked up
to do some moving work.

What's happened to him?

Which outfit
picked him up?

It's a red truck.

You don't know their



Reed Moving Company.

Reed Moving Company?

Yeah, that's the one.
Hector went with them.

Are you sure he's not
in any trouble?

Nah, his troubles are
over, believe me.

His name's Hector Santiago.

We got a witness
who says he saw him

get into one of your
trucks on Monday.

A lot of these guys
come through.

Yeah, well,
this guy's dead.


Got two.

Look, maybe he
did work for me.

I honestly don't

Well, then, maybe he worked for
you Tuesday and Wednesday, too.

I need some extra muscle, I send
one of my drivers to the corner.

I don't suppose you
send 'em their W-2s.

These people would be in the
street if it wasn't for me.

Look, Mr. Reed, how
many jobs did you need

extra muscle for
on Monday?

I had two office
moves Monday.

BRISCOE: So where are
those crews working now?

One's downtown.

One's on a job
on the West Side.

Yeah, he worked
on Monday and Wednesday.

The truth is, I started here
a few weeks ago myself,

so I got all
the new fish.

What was the job he was
working on Wednesday?

That would be a brownstone
in Bensonhurst.

And you're sure you remember
him working Wednesday?

Absolutely. It was a brownstone
four-flight walk-up.

This guy,
Hector, is it?

Well, after the first trip, he comes
to me and he tells me he's hurt.

For the rest of the day,
he's practically useless.

I had to pass all the light
stuff off the truck to him.

How did he get hurt on
the job that morning?

He wasn't hurt
on this job.

BRISCOE: Well, what, then? He
said he was in a car accident.

RODGERS: It could definitely
be from an auto accident.

Cause of death was a dissecting
aneurysm of the aorta

caused by severe
blunt force trauma.

If it was so severe, why
wasn't he more beat up?

I've seen cases with
no external bruising.

It's a deceleration

As in motor vehicle

As in whiplash.

He's thrown forward, then he gets
pulled back by the seat restraints.

This extreme jerking motion can
cause dramatic injury to the aorta.

So the neck abrasions
were from the seat belt.

Well, could he walk
around all day like this?

I saw one guy live for a month
before the aorta ruptured.

Good news is, you can close the
file, send it down to AIS.

Assuming it was
an accident.

What, something I'm missing?

Guy gets in a car crash,
why doesn't he tell his wife?

We don't own a car.

Did any of Hector's
friends have a car?

Nobody I can think of.

Maybe he took a taxi.

We can hardly
afford the bus.

Well, he did have that 250 on him.

Hector would never have
wasted money on a cab.

Excuse me.
Yeah, Green.

Can you think of any reason why
your husband might lie about this?

I don't know.

Maybe he just didn't
want me to worry.

Thanks. Mrs. Santiago, do you
know someone named Chad Patel?

Patel? No.

We had our officers pull the accident
reports from Monday and Tuesday.

One of them listed your
husband as the passenger.

Chad Patel
was the driver.

We're investigating the accident
you were in on Tuesday.

I already
talked to police.

Well, we just need to
verify a couple of things.

Yeah, the two guys that
were in the car with you,

Hector Santiago and Everold Daly.
They friends of yours?

Just friends
of a friend.

What were they
doing in your car?

I run into them
at this place in Queens.

I gave them a ride
back to Harlem.

Why do you ask me
these questions?

One of them died.

The doctor tells us
it was from the accident.

But I saw him after.
He looked okay.

How about you?
You okay?

My arm and neck hurt.

But I got to work.
You know how it is.

ED: Yeah, you should really see
a doctor though, Mr. Patel.

The other guy died
from his injuries.

I can't afford no doctor.

BRISCOE: When's the last time
you saw Mr. Santiago?

After the accident,
the police tow my car.

We all take the bus.

How did this accident happen?

Car cut me off.
I hit my brakes.

Some guy in SUV
rear-ends me.

And you called the cops?

I tell them that the
guy was tail-gating me.

He was on his cell phone.
He wasn't paying attention.

The cops
didn't do anything.

Okay, thanks.

Should we be looking
at this SUV driver?

Cops on the scene
let it go.

But they didn't know Hector
Santiago was gonna die.

Driving while on cell
phone isn't illegal.

Not yet.

All right, well,
I'll call the DMV.

Find out if this guy's
got a history.

The other driver saw
you on your cell phone.

No way. I got on my cell
phone after the accident.

My eyes were on
the road the whole time.

Who were you calling,
your lawyer?

You got two moving violations in
the past year, a DWI a while back.

Awhile back
was in college.

I was calling my wife.

Look, the accident
wasn't my fault.

This guy just slammed
on his brakes for no reason.

He said he was cut off.

Bull. There was nobody
in front of him.

I tried to swerve
out of the way,

but there was this other car
in the lane next to me.

I was boxed in.

Did you tell that to
the cops at the scene?

Gave them my insurance information.
They said I could leave.

Look, I did everything
I was supposed to do.

I even offered to take 'em
to the hospital,

but the officer said he
already called an ambulance.

An ambulance responded?

As I was leaving.

Man, my insurance is gonna go
through the roof now, isn't it?


Too bad.

Guess he shouldn't have
refused medical assistance.

So what? If a guy's half-dead,
you just leave him there?

If he's RMA
and we treat him,

do you know what happens
if he dies then?

The city gets sued
and I get screwed.

So you didn't realize how
badly Santiago was injured?

All three of 'em
were ambulatory.

No loss of consciousness.

Even then, I advised them to
get checked out at a hospital.

What'd they say?

They said they had
their own doctors.

Patel said he didn't
have a doctor.

You got your run sheets
from that day?

Yeah. I pulled 'em
when you called.

Treat and release.
They all signed off.

Well, what's this where
it says "patient complaint"?

Somebody wrote "pain
radiating from the neck."

Yeah, I did, and that's
just what they said.

I thought it was kinda strange, these
guys all saying the word "radiate."

Chad Patel?

You looking for
the Indian? He's gone.

I saw him leave last
night with a bag.

Told me he
was moving out.

Did he tell you where
he was moving to?


But it must be someplace
he don't need a hotplate.

Gave me his.

Told me I could keep it.


(SIGHS) And then
there was one.

Mm-hmm. Everold Daly.

623 East 116th.

Where's Everold Daly?


Yeah, right.
Open the door.

Where is he?

He's not here.

What's this?

(SHOUTING) The bathroom.

All right, Everold,
come on out.

He's going out the
window, Ed.

That's good, that's good. Now, radiate
your ass up against the wall.

Come on.

The DMV says your friend Patel's been
involved in two other rear-enders

in the last nine months. So if you
don't start talking, Everold,

you're gonna be looking at an
accessory charge to Manslaughter.

I wasn't driving.

Insurance fraud's
a felony.

Doesn't matter if you
were driving or not.

Maybe you'd like
a few months

in the Immigration
lock-up to think about it?


No Immigration.

So you want to help
yourself here?

Smash was too
heavy-footed on the brakes.


Patel. He likes to
smash up the cars.

But the other man, he no
have a chance to slow down.

The guy in the SUV?

Patel is supposed to swing
in front of him, then stop.

There's another car
in on the thing, too?

He pulls up next to the man so
he can't get out of the way.

Then, thump, he
hits us from behind.

A swoop.

So who was
driving the other car?

I don't know this
rude boy's name.

Look, Patel say he already crashed
two cars before this one,

and no harm come
to anyone.

What happens
after the accident?

We tell the ambulance driver
what we're supposed to,

then Patel takes me
and Hector to the clinic,

we talk to
the doctor like so,

we have sore necks.
That's it.

And how much you
get paid for all this?


Where's Patel now?

I don't know.

I don't. I never even met
him before the other day.

How'd you meet him?

The man at the
moving company.

He come up to me and Hector
after work on Monday,

he pay us for the day,

then he say he know how
we can get another $200.

And which guy at the moving
company told you this?

The big boss,
Mr. Reed.

BRISCOE: Mr. Reed?

We need you
to come with us.

Why? Oh, come on. You're
smarter than that.


Hey, man,
we'll give you a ride.

Yeah, don't worry, my partner's
an excellent driver.

I don't know why
I'm in here.

How about hiring guys to play bumper
cars on the West Side Highway?

That ring a bell?

I pay men
to move furniture.

Have a seat.

A man died from an accident
you arranged, Mr. Reed.

He left behind a wife
and two little children.

You're looking at
homicide charges.


Criminal fraud executed
with reckless conduct

creating a grave risk
of death to another person.

That's the definition of
Murder in the Second Degree.

And like I said, I run
a moving company.

Come on. DMV already confirmed
Chad Patel's been involved

in two other
accidents in the past year.

CARMICHAEL: Everold Daly will testify
you gave him Patel's phone number.

He was looking for work.

I gotta figure you're the low man
on this totem pole, Mr. Reed.

But if you don't give me anyone
higher up on the food chain,

that leaves
you at the top.

Look, you're in way
over your head this time.

Yeah, well, it's my head,
and I want to see a lawyer.

Reed made bail.

Judge set a $25,000
cash alternative.

For Second Degree Murder?

With Reed as
our only defendant,

doesn't give us
much sizzle.

I take it the court
wasn't overly impressed

with our depraved
indifference theory?

A car accident was staged.

That endangers the lives of
everyone in those vehicles,

not to mention the
rest of us on the road.

If that's not depraved
indifference to life, what is?

What about
the second car?

Daly doesn't know the name of the
driver, and Reed's not talking.

If these accidents
were staged,

there has to have been more than
a few hundred dollars in it.

Follow the money.

Get our sizzle.

Mr. Patel's second accident
claim was settled for $6,500.

What injuries
did he allege?

Soft tissue damage
to the back and neck.

Soft tissue damage?

As opposed to
a broken arm or leg.

The lay term is whiplash.

Hard to prove,
hard to disprove.

That's the same injury he
claimed in his first accident.

You settled both,
Ms. Miller.

To fight it we'd have
to spend $700

bringing in a doctor
for an opinion.

Another couple hundred
for a second X-ray.

Maybe even an MRI.

Add another 3,000
bringing in legal counsel

to depose the plaintiff.

So you settle
for nuisance value.


All right, I'm going
to need copies

of all your soft tissue claims
for the past 12 months.

Exel is one of the largest auto
insurers in New York, Ms. Carmichael.

That's a pretty tall order.

If it'll help,
I'll get you a subpoena.

Last thing I need
is more lawyers.

I'll get you the copies.


I went through Miller's files.

19 claimants listed themselves
as employees of Bill Reed.

A cottage industry. How much
money are we talking about?

Several hundred thousand
dollars at least.

And that doesn't
take into account

any other insurance companies
that may have been sued.

And there's a common
thread besides Bill Reed.

All 19 men went to the
same chiropractic clinic.

Let's get a
second opinion.

It's not my practice to
second guess another doctor.

We believe these accidents
were part of a con game.

What we're trying
to figure out is

if the injuries warranted
insurance settlements.

Well, soft tissue injuries are
extremely complex to diagnose.

And the nerve conduction tests
that were ordered by Dr. Raleigh

are notoriously unreliable.

And the patient's X-rays
and the MRI results

are completely within
the normal range.

Then all these expensive
tests really tell us nothing.

No, not exactly.

You'd expect that
some of the 19 charts

that you've given me
would have an injury

verifiable by an
X-ray or an MRI.

But there's not a single test that
shows any problems whatsoever.

So they're faking it?

They averaged ten visits
with this chiropractor.

I believe if you examine the
no-fault coverage on those policies

the amounts
will correspond exactly

with the number of treatments
his patients received.

I guess they were cured as soon
as their coverage ran out.

According to Patel's insurance claims,
you treated him for soft tissue injury,

allegedly resulting from
three different car accidents

within a span of less
than 10 months.

Our client can't refuse to treat a
man because he's a lousy driver.

He also treated every one
of Patel's passengers.

Nothing unusual about getting
referrals from current patients.

All of these referrals were
employees of Reed Moving.

I imagine chiropractic problems are
common in the moving business.

And so are car accidents?

I wouldn't know.

But you do know exactly when their
no-fault coverage runs out.

Dr. Raleigh's patients are mainly
low-income individuals without insurance.

I don't see why he
should be singled out

for the failings of our
nation's health-care system.

How about for claiming
treatment he never provided?

Those are Mr. Patel's
current work records.

On six occasions Dr. Raleigh
claimed office visits,

Mr. Patel was actually
working as a busboy.

Well, obviously my billing department
has made a clerical error.

Six clerical errors.

Even if that's true, at most,
uh, what you're describing

is a minor civil matter.

I wouldn't call a pervasive
pattern of insurance fraud

that led to a man's death
a civil matter, Counselor.

I'd call it murder.
Murder? That's ridiculous.

Well, car accidents were
staged that put lives at risk.

And then the occupants

of those vehicles were
steered to this office

to claim injuries
that didn't exist.

You can't prove that.

We're prepared to call a
board-certified orthopedist

who will testify that none
of their injuries were real.

And we'll call five others
who'll swear they were.

We've tried more medical cases
than you've tried homicides.

I'm afraid this
discussion's over.

What now?

If they can fake it,
so can we.

All you have on my client is the
testimony of an illegal immigrant

desperate to avoid

Not anymore.

We checked
soft tissue claims

from other major auto insurance
companies in the city.

Do you have any idea how many
of those people worked for you

at one time or another,
Mr. Reed?


All treated at
Raleigh's clinic.

You talked to Raleigh?

How long do you think
it'll be before we'll have

10 witnesses willing
to testify against you?

All I did was spread a few bucks
around, that's it. Phil...

No, why don't you go after the people
who really got fat off of this?

And who would that be?

THIGPEN: Before he talks,
he needs a deal.

Conspiracy to commit fraud.
Five years probation.

JACK: Try Man Two,
three to nine.

Look, I never thought
anybody'd get hurt.

These were supposed to be
little rear-enders with

everybody wearing
their seatbelts.

This is Chad Patel's car.

That will be our first
exhibit to the jury.

That doesn't look like a
little fender-bender to me.

It was Raleigh's idea.

I moved him into his office
a couple of years ago.

He knew I hired a lot of
illegals from the corner.

Said if any of my guys want
to get in on this scam,

he'd give me
a finder's fee.

I was supposed to pack the
car with three or four guys

and after the accident,
they'd go to Raleigh's clinic.

JACK: How much
was your fee?

500 bucks per.

You'd pay these people $200 to risk
their lives, and you'd keep three?

Look, it's not like we were ripping
off little old ladies here.

These were
the insurance companies.

And the lawyers, Petrie and
Sanders, they ran the whole thing.

Petrie and Sanders
supplied the grease.

The law firm representing
Dr. Raleigh?

One in the same. Their firm handled
all the personal injury claims

of Raleigh's patients.

So, Reed sends Dr. Raleigh
illegal immigrants,

and these shysters
turn them into clients?

Their contingency fees in these
cases run in the millions.

A scam using immigrants
as crash test dummies.

And these two lawyers
orchestrated the whole thing.

No wonder they wouldn't let
Raleigh talk about a plea.

All right, let's make
examples of these two.

I want murder indictments
for both of them.

Well, that's not
gonna be easy.

Petrie and Sanders never had
direct contact with Reed.

JACK: And Dr. Raleigh
was the bag man.

And we can't flip Raleigh
because they represent him.

What about getting him
shadow counsel?

He's the one who'd
have to request it.

Oh, how do we cut Raleigh loose
from these damn lawyers?

A motion to disqualify?

On what grounds?

The People plan to call
both of you as witnesses.

Here are your subpoenas.

This is outrageous.

Judge, we refused to play ball
with Mr. McCoy on a plea bargain

with our client.
This is simply retaliation.

What about it,
Mr. McCoy?

We need these lawyers
to prove there was

a conspiracy to defraud
the insurance companies.

You have
to be more specific.

They can testify about the money the
phony accident victims received.

Even if the accidents
were phony,

we can't be compelled to testify
against our own clients.

We have attorney-client
privilege with these people.

Does seem to
present a problem.

Not if we offer blanket immunity
to every one of their clients

who might conceivably be
implicated by their testimony.

What about Dr. Raleigh?
Doesn't he get immunity?

We're not going to ask them about
their conversations with Dr. Raleigh.

Your Honor, we've spent two
months preparing for this trial.

And I'll give substitute counsel
plenty of time to get up to speed.

So what are
you worried about?

What exactly are you
looking for, Mr. McCoy?

Testimony against the law
firm of Petrie and Sanders.

That's why you
disqualified them.

You should be
thanking us, Dr. Raleigh.

Your lawyers wanted you
to take the fall for this.

What would this
testimony be worth?

Man Two, three to nine.

That's what you gave Reed.

I don't think your client's
culpability is any less.

Maybe not. But his
information is worth more.

Dr. Raleigh is the only one who had
direct contact with these attorneys.

What are you
looking for?

Two to six.
No opposition to parole.

Let's hear what
he has to say.

Petrie and Sanders
paid me a referral fee

for sending them
accident victims.

JACK: How much?

$600 for every client
I referred,

plus five percent
of the insurance settlement.

And no-fault takes care
of chiropractic visits

that never took place?

Were Petrie and Sanders aware
that the accidents were staged?

They were the ones who insisted on
at least three victims per accident.

BRISCOE: Alan Petrie
and Richard Sanders.

Hey, wait, we're in the
middle of a deposition here.

You're under arrest for the
murder of Hector Santiago.

You might want to find
yourself a new Pl firm.

And you might want
to get a lawyer

who knows something
about insurance fraud.

JACK: Petrie and Sanders told Raleigh
to target new, expensive cars

that'd be likely to have
good insurance policies.

That's how they
picked the SUV

in the accident that
killed Hector Santiago.

Has anyone approached you about a
plea bargain for these creeps?

They put out a feeler. I
haven't returned the call yet.

Raleigh is the only one

who actually puts Petrie and
Sanders in the driver's seat.

We could get Man One,
restitution, if we deal.

These attorneys sacrificed
Hector Santiago

and men like him for nothing
more than a legal fee.

For that they have to
be made to pay full price.

Reports of auto insurance
fraud in New York

have doubled in the
last five years.

Fraud adds almost $200

to the average family's
insurance bill.

Have you examined the
reports of the accident

that killed Hector Santiago?

Yes, I did.

What's your expert opinion

on whether that was
a real or a staged accident.

It was a swoop and squat.

Two cars came up
alongside the mark.

In this case, an SUV.

Then the lead driver sped up,
swooped in front of the mark,

and jammed on his brakes.

The second car stayed
next to the mark

so he couldn't veer left.

The mark slammed
on his brakes,

but not in time to avoid
hitting the lead car.

How many accident cases did
Dr. Raleigh and the defendants share?

Based on my department's
investigation, 58.

And of those accidents, how many fit
the pattern of a swoop and squat?

Virtually every single one.

Ms. Claire, uh,
do you have any proof

my clients participated
in this fraud?

They took their legal fees out of
the settlements in these cases.

Isn't it possible they didn't
know the accidents were faked?

I find that unlikely.

Why? Aren't soft tissue
injuries easy to fake?

Doctors may disagree,

So it's possible
the accident victims

were well coached by Dr. Raleigh
to deceive my clients?

When a lawyer gets 200 cases
from the same chiropractor,

and the medical reports
read almost identically,

I find it hard to believe the lawyer
didn't know exactly what was going on.

RALEIGH: Mr. Petrie came to my office three
years ago on a personal injury case.

He liked the work-up
I did for his client.

Two weeks later,
he and Richard, Mr. Sanders,

took me out to an expensive
dinner as a thank you.

They said that if I
helped them generate cases,

there'd be even
bigger thank yous.

Did they propose
how to generate cases?

They suggested
we stage car accidents.

They, uh, said they would pay
me $600 for every referral,

plus a percentage of any insurance
settlement I helped to secure.

Did there come a time when you
acted on the defendants' proposal?

Bill Reed set up a car accident
using four of his workers.

Afterwards, they came
to my office for treatment,

and I sent them to Petrie and
Sanders for representation.

Did any of these
car accident victims

require treatment,
Dr. Raleigh?


And over the years, how many
of these so-called victims

did you deliver
to Petrie and Sanders?

Including repeat
customers, 212.

You received a very cushy deal to
testify against my clients today,

did you not, Doctor?

I wouldn't call two to six
years in prison cushy.

Not even if you're facing a
25-to-life on a murder charge?

Dr. Raleigh,
it's quite common

for doctors and chiropractors
to refer their patients

to personal injury
lawyers, is it not?


Nothing wrong with
that, is there?

No. Unless money
changes hands.

Do you have any proof
that my clients ever

put a single penny
in your hand?

They always paid cash.

And you billed the insurance companies
directly for your services?



Seems you took care of
everything, Dr. Raleigh.

Our law firm turns away
potential clients all the time.

If Richard and I think
somebody's being dishonest,

we don't want anything
to do with them.

But I'd rather make
mistakes once in a while

than turn away somebody
who's truly deserving.

Mr. Petrie, have you
and Mr. Sanders

ever knowingly
participated in fraud?

Absolutely not.

Ever paid anyone
to get in an accident?


Ever paid Dr. Raleigh?

What about the
testimony we heard

from the prosecution's
insurance industry expert?

Well, people should remember
that that's exactly what she is,

a representative of
the insurance companies.

And insurance companies
don't like paying insurance,

and they especially don't like
law firms that make them.

Thank you.
I have nothing further.

Mr. Petrie,

you visited Dr. Raleigh's
office over 30 times

during the past two years.

It's not uncommon
for a lawyer

to attend his client's
physical examinations.

And always
the same diagnosis,

soft tissue injuries.

It happens to be the most likely injury
to occur from a rear-end collision.

And rear-end collisions
happen to be

the most lucrative type of
accident to sue on, correct?

I think, as a general proposition,
that's probably true.

So was it luck, Mr. Petrie,

that every client
referred by Dr. Raleigh

had been involved
in a rear-end collision?

I'm a lawyer Mr. McCoy
I try the facts I'm given.

Every accident from
Dr. Raleigh's office

a rear-end collision.

Every claim whiplash.

Every client
an illegal alien,

and/or an employee
of Bill Reed.

Pretty coincidental facts,
Mr. Petrie.

My law firm doesn't represent
Park Avenue matrons, Mr. McCoy.

We're down in the trenches,

fighting for the people
society has forgotten.

And you turn a nice buck doing
it, don't you, Mr. Petrie?

Yes. My law firm
is successful.

I don't make
apologies for that.

But we don't collect if
our client's don't collect.

It's as simple as that.

Petrie's painted himself
as a cross between

Robin Hood and
Cesar Chavez.

And there's bound to be
four or five blue-collar types

who are going
to be sympathetic.

These guys have an
answer for everything.

We should make sure
his performance backfires.

Let's look through some of their
more serious injury cases.

Maybe we can find some little
people who aren't so grateful.

JACK: What happened to
your husband, Mrs. Ndabe?

Musa was in a car
accident last year

with three other men.

A car hit them from the back
and Musa ruptured his spleen.

He died that night.

This is highly prejudicial,
Your Honor.

You've already made your objections
in chambers, Mr. Kaufer.

Please sit down.

Did these defendants represent
you and your husband?

Yes. After he died, they settled
with the insurance company

for $100,000.

And how much
did you receive?

Mr. Petrie and
Mr. Sanders took one half.

Not one third?

One half.

They also took
$37,000 for expenses.

Leaving you with $13,000

for your husband's
wrongful death?


Is that why you're
testifying here today?

Because you feel cheated?


I'm here because my husband's
accident was not really an accident,

and these men knew it.

The jury will
disregard the statement

about the defendants'

Why is it you believe
that the car crash

was not an accident,
Mrs. Ndabe?

Because at the hospital
Mr. Petrie was already there.

He said that Musa
was in critical condition,

that I had to sign papers,
the retainer,

in case he died, so that his
firm could represent us.

And why was
that so urgent?

Mr. Petrie told me that if a different
lawyer was to take the case,

they'll find out what really happened
and I might not get any money.

That I could even be deported
for what Musa had done.

Mrs. Ndabe, by testifying
here today, aren't you afraid

that the insurance company may
realize they were defrauded

and try to get
their money back?

I may lose the money, yes.

But I don't want to let my
husband's killers go free.

Mrs. Ndabe,
I'm sorry for your loss.

I know that
in times of sadness,

we often search for
a reason for the pain.

Something to explain
the inexplicable.


Ask a question,

Mrs. Ndabe,
in your time of need

who paid your husband's medical
bills, his funeral bills?

Who treated you with
kindness and respect?

It felt like kindness
at the time.

Later, it turned
out to be expenses.

So you're bitter about your
part of the settlement,

is that it, Mrs. Ndabe?

No, I'm not bitter.

But you waited such a long
time before coming forward

with your accusation.

I was afraid.
I wasn't legal.

Or is it maybe because you
didn't want to do anything

until you saw how little
money you were going to get?

That's not true.

No, no,
I'm sure it's not.

Thank you, Mrs. Ndabe.

Hector Santiago's death
is a terrible tragedy.

By all accounts,
he was a decent man

who simply made
a terrible mistake

agreeing to participate
in an insurance scam.

A scam that ultimately
cost him his life.

But it was an agreement my
clients had no knowledge of.

An agreement they
could have no knowledge of,

unless you want lawyers to be
their client's inquisitors

rather than their advocates.

So why are
my clients on trial?

After all, Dr. Raleigh's the one who
paid Bill Reed to stage the accident.

He's the one who dealt with
the insurance companies.

He's the one who billed for the
non-existent medical treatments.

So why put Alan Petrie and
Richard Sanders on trial?

It's because Mr. McCoy
knows that people

are willing to believe
the worst about lawyers.

Especially personal
injury lawyers.

And the more
successful they are,

the more political pressure is
brought by the insurance companies

to bring 'em down.

So they're portrayed to you as
bottom feeders, ambulance chasers.

But these so-called
ambulance chasers

are our protectors.

(SIGHS) Lawyers like Alan
Petrie and Richard Sanders

defend us from
the corporations

and the insurance companies, to whom
the rest of us are just numbers.

Everyone hates lawyers

until they need one.

Alan Petrie
and Richard Sanders

made millions of dollars

on the backs of the Hector
Santiagos of the world.

They're not champions
of the people,

they're just corrupt lawyers

who preyed on the most
vulnerable among us

in order to make
themselves rich.

Inducing hard-working men,

desperate to
feed their families

to risk their lives in
car accidents

with innocent drivers.

Their scheme
endangered all of us,

because it turned all of
us into potential victims.

30 visits to
Dr. Raleigh's office

to observe medical

that all ended
with the same result,

the same injuries,
the same rear-end collisions.

You heard
Dr. Raleigh testify

that thousands of dollars
changed hands in these visits.

But where was the big
money in this scam?

Did it go to Bill Reed, or Hector
Santiago or even Dr. Raleigh?

It went to these defendants,

these lawyers,

who handled 212
identical cases,

and made $2,500,000,

plus expenses, doing it.

Leaving the Mrs. Ndabes of
the world with their 13%.

Petrie and Sanders

were running
a fraud mill,

and Hector Santiago

and the men like him
were simply the grist.

The bottom line is this,

Hector Santiago is dead

because these men
paid him $200

to get into a cheap car
and cross his fingers

and hold on tight.

Has the jury
reached a verdict?

WOMAN: We have.

JUDGE: As to Alan Petrie,

on the charge of Murder in the
Second Degree, how do you find?

We find the
defendant guilty.

JUDGE: As to Richard Sanders,

on the charge of Murder
in the Second Degree,

how do you find?

We find the
defendant guilty.

Do we charge them with
Mr. Ndabe's murder?

We have 20 years
to decide.

Gives new meaning to the
term "Jailhouse lawyers."

What happens to all
those settlements now?

The insurance companies are
moving to set them aside.

Hector Santiago's family
won't see a penny.

He died for nothing.