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State representative facing criminal charges once again

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

The Harris County District Attorney's Office dropped barratry charges filed against State Representative Ron Reynolds in late February.

Reynolds' case and dozens of others were tossed out because two Harris County investigators who worked on those cases are now accused of stealing evidence.

Reynolds and 7 other Houston-area attorneys gave kickbacks for clients to a four-time convicted ex-convict by the name of Robert Valdez, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.

"He paid this individual, Robert Valdez whose currently incarcerated and in our jail, numerous times to solicit clients for him that had been involved in traffic accidents," said Phil Grant, Montgomery County's first assistant D.A.

According to court documents just days after his Harris County criminal case was dismissed, Reynolds met with Valdez here at one of his law offices at 5100 Westheimer.

The document states a confidential informant saw the state representative hand Valdez an envelope containing several one hundred dollar bills.

Valdez, authorities say was the ring leader of an elaborate kick-back scheme.

"Basically for lack of a better term ambulance chasing for profit," Grant said. "There are very strict rules in the penal code and in the ethical rules that lawyers are not allowed to personally contact individuals that have been in a car accident."

Authorities say that's where Valdez would come in.

They say he would approach "not at fault" drivers named in police accident reports and sign them up with Reynolds and seven other attorneys to receive a kick-back.

"This was an extremely large operation," said Grant. :This might be in the 750 thousand to one million dollar range worth of business in the last two and a half years."

In addition to Reynolds and seven other attorneys named in arrest warrants, investigators say two area clinics are also involved in the scheme.

"You have a fraud component in most of these cases where the injuries are exaggerated unnecessary medical treatments are applied so the insurance company gets duped for a medical bill that really wasn't necessary," Grant said.

We contacted Representative Reynolds's office for a response, we had gotten one by air time.

Robert Valdez who has partial ownership in two area chiropractic clinics is currently in jail on an unrelated charge.

Authorities say Valdez continued to run the scheme from behind bars.

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