High Trauma

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Various negotiations with Moskal and Ramos followed, leading to a meeting at a bank where Ramos was supposed to cash the $4,700 check and give Callicoat a quarter of the money back. "When I showed him the check, he got angry and started ranting about Mr. Mintz," Callicoat said. "Ramos said he would not accept anything less than the entire amount of money held by Mintz in the trust account, which he said was more than $4,700."

Ramos won't comment on Callicoat's story, saying that the matter is still in litigation.

In 2005, an Arvada man contacted the police about Moskal, saying he'd believed that Moskal was a lawyer when he hired him to represent his son, who'd been badly injured in an auto accident. The man admitted that Moskal had never specifically said he was an attorney, but recorded phone calls and e-mails produced in the investigation certainly didn't contradict that impression. According to police records, Moskal talked about preparing subpoenas and releases, boasted that "this is my favorite case so far," and told the man that the settlement check would be made payable to the victim, Moskal, and a Nevada attorney Moskal was working with. "I am turning up the pressure on American Family just like I did with Farmers Insurance," Moskal wrote in one e-mail.

Last fall, following a federal hearing in Minnesota, Moskal was ordered back to jail for thirty days and had his supervision extended another three years. Prosecutors argued that Moskal had violated conditions of his release by allegedly representing himself as an attorney and gaining access to patient medical records while working for Ramos. "It all kind of smells like what you were doing before," U.S. District Judge John Tunheim told the ex-attorney. "If you weren't practicing law, you came very close to it."

Moskal still works for Mile High Medical Group. Ramos, who testified on his behalf at the hearing, defends him as "one of the nicest guys I've ever met. He's kind and gentle to everyone, and he's a terrific marketer. He's also dating my mom."

Ramos says Moskal has helped his company by doing in-house evaluations of cases in which lawyers say they can't pay the medical bills because of a poor settlement; if there's extra money to be found, Moskal can find it. "I knew his history," Ramos says. "He's pretty up front about what he's done."

Recently, the litigants agreed to drop Moskal as a defendant in the case.

Moskal declined to be interviewed. He did, however, release a brief statement through his attorney, noting that the events that led to his disbarment and prison time occurred "more than ten years ago." (Actually, the last embezzlement from his former clients reportedly took place nine years ago.) "I have served my time and paid restitution," he wrote. "I have worked hard to put my past behind me and regret that it is being used against others who bear no responsibility for my past actions.... I am grateful for the opportunity given to me by Mile High Medical Group."

Moskal isn't the only disbarred attorney and convicted felon to have ties to Mile High Medical Group. In 1997, Denver personal-injury attorney Brian Hugen was suspended from practicing law after numerous instances of stealing from his clients' settlement funds. He consented to disbarment, pleaded guilty to theft and was sentenced to six years in prison. Following the departure of Cheryl Clark, Ramos and Nadler have relied on Hugen to help with their records and billing issues.

In an article in the June issue of Mile High Medical Group's Monthly Review newsletter, Hugen explains how an accident victim can get more extensive care, heftier medical bills and ultimately a higher net settlement — three times as much, in one hypothetical case — by seeking treatment from Mile High instead of the health-care providers specified by their insurance.

Like Ramos, Hugen has had some caustic correspondence with Mintz about billing matters. In 2005 he sent a letter to patients informing them about the dispute with Mintz and urging them to assist him in obtaining payment from the lawyer; in exchange, he said, "the providers will not turn their bills over to collection." Hugen also suggested that patients peeved about the impasse might want to contact the Supreme Court's Office of Regulation Counsel to have Mintz investigated.

In court records, Mintz has disclosed that the medical providers have been involved in at least six grievances filed against him with that office; none of them have been found to have any merit. The providers claim that Mintz has filed multiple grievances against them with the medical regulators, too — also to no effect.

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Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast

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