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Section: Definitions relative to use of runners; crime; sentencing.
1. a. As used in this section: "Provider" means an attorney, a health care professional, an owner or operator of a health care practice or facility, any person who creates the impression that he or his practice or facility can provide legal or health care services, or any person employed or acting on behalf of any of the aforementioned persons. "Public media" means telephone directories, professional directories, newspapers and other periodicals, radio and television, billboards and mailed or electronically transmitted written communications that do not involve in-person contact with a specific prospective client, patient or customer. "Runner" means a person who, for a pecuniary benefit, procures or attempts to procure a client, patient or customer at the direction of, request of or in cooperation with a provider whose purpose is to seek to obtain benefits under a contract of insurance or assert a claim against an insured or an insurance carrier for providing services to the client, patient or customer, or to obtain benefits under or assert a claim against a State or federal health care benefits program or prescription drug assistance program. "Runner" shall not include a person who procures or attempts to procure clients, patients or customers for a provider through public media or a person who refers clients, patients or customers to a provider as otherwise authorized by law. b. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if that person knowingly acts as a runner or uses, solicits, directs, hires or employs another to act as a runner. c. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection e. of N.J.S.2C:44-1, the court shall deal with a person who has been convicted of a violation of this section by imposing a sentence of imprisonment unless, having regard to the character and condition of the person, the court is of the opinion that imprisonment would be a serious injustice which overrides the need to deter such conduct by others. If the court imposes a noncustodial or probationary sentence, such sentence shall not become final for 10 days in order to permit the appeal of such sentence by the prosecution. Nothing in this section shall preclude an indictment and conviction for any other offense defined by the laws of this State. L. 1999, c. 162; amended 2007, c.58, s.12.
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