Update: South St. Paul boys’ basketball coach Matthew McCallister has resigned, school officials announced this morning. More details to come.
In basketball circles, Matthew McCollister has a reputation as a coach who has turned to struggling and stagnant high school boys’ basketball programs.
McCollister’s head coaching starts and stops including Breck, St. Croix Preparatory Academy and Brooklyn Center. Since 2019, he has coached South St. Paul, which was less than the state tournament in the previous season. The Packers (11-0) are among the top-ranked teams in Class 3A this season.
In legal circles, however, McCallister’s position as a personal injury attorney has taken a hit.
Last month, McCallister, 41, of Mendota Heights, was charged with serious conspiracy in US District Court to commit health care fraud. He is accused of playing a role in a scheme to rip up car insurance companies with bogus medical claims in Minnesota and elsewhere in 2016 and 2017.
Also last month, a state agency recommended that McCallister be banned for professional misconduct in 2019 and 2020. McCallister opened his personal injury law firm in March 2015.
Federal prosecutors charged McCallister with felony information on December 8, a process by which a defendant agrees to waive a grand jury indictment and pleads guilty instead. On Wednesday, he will appear in a preliminary courtroom before District Judge Wilhelmina Wright in St. Paul and file his guilty plea, McCallister’s attorney Ryan Pasiga said this week.
“He is cooperating with the process immediately and falling on the sword for himself,” Pasiga said.
Pasiga said sentencing guidelines call for a prison sentence of 10 to 16 months. The date of hearing on the sentence will be fixed after the appearance on Wednesday.
South St. Paul Schools Superintendent Dave Webb said this week that he could not comment on the federal allegation because it falls under private personnel data. Webb said that on Wednesday morning, McCallister resigned from his coaching job and full-time job as a high school paraprofessional.
McCollister has coached the high school basketball team since November 2019. Since August, he’s been a full-time high school paraeducator, working with student-support specialists who focus on student behavior “to help turn a corner to get kids back on track.” “. Webb said.
If McCollister pleads guilty to the criminal charge Wednesday — and if he hadn’t resigned already — he would have faced immediate termination from the school district as part of its employee policy.
McCallister has no criminal record in Minnesota, except for petty felony violations dating back to 2017.
McCallister did not respond to Pioneer Press’s requests for comment.
South St Paul’s High School principal Chuck Ochoki and the school’s athletics director and assistant principal Chad Sexauer also did not return calls seeking comment.
what is he accused of
According to the federal allegation, McCallister and unidentified others conspired to defraud auto insurers on policies provided in accordance with the state’s no-fault insurance law.
Under that law, Minnesota insurers must provide at least $40,000 in personal injury protection on their auto policies. Customers injured in a car accident can pay their medical bills and other related expenses, whether the accident was their fault or not.
The charging document doesn’t explain what McCallister did and it’s unclear why it was handed over last month. A spokeswoman for the US Attorney’s Office said this week that she could not provide additional details about the case beyond the document, but added that more details will be discussed in Wednesday’s indictment and plea agreement.
According to Pesiga, prosecutors alleged that McCallister hired “runners” to recruit customers who had been injured in car accidents. Those same runners would work with chiropractors who would fraudulently bill auto insurers to take care of those customers, taking advantage of the no-fault insurance law.
In March 2016, according to Pasiga, McCallister asked a “runner”, who was actually an undercover agent, to find people who had been injured in car accidents and bring them to a chiropractor for treatment. . “I mean, they put him on a wire at St. Paul’s restaurant talking about stuff like that,” Pasiga said.
This is a state, not a federal, crime for a lawyer to work with runners. Pesiga said that to sue McCallister in US District Court was to demand payment to an insurance company or companies for chiropractic care, which he knew was unnecessary.
He added that McCallister “lost his way for a while, his decision spiraling out of control.”
“It was a long time ago, but when it came out, he wanted to address it immediately,” Pasiga said. “And instead of putting the government through its motion in a case, he knew what he had done was wrong and wanted to settle the matter quickly.”
suspended from obeying the law
McCollister was admitted to practicing law in Minnesota in 2009 and has been suspended three times by the state’s Supreme Court for a variety of misconduct.
He remains on a two-year suspension, which was handed down by the state’s highest court in October 2020 after an investigation by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, a state agency, found a dozen instances of misconduct. These include failing to communicate settlement offers to customers; Failure to obtain the client’s consent to dismiss a petition for arbitration for no fault of its benefits; and failed to identify in a written contingency fee agreement how costs and expenses would be calculated. He was also charged with practicing law while under suspension.
McCallister’s professional conduct was first called out by the state agency in 2013, when he “unconditionally” admitted allegations that he was paid by a competing attorney outside his firm to refer potential clients. McCollister’s law license was suspended for 30 days.
In 2019, McCollister was again suspended from practicing law for 30 days for misconduct in which he agreed to a settlement without a client’s knowledge or consent and the client’s name on the settlement agreement. It was fake.
Last month, McCallister and the State Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility entered into a stipulation where they admitted that they knowingly diverted more than $16,300 of client funds from at least three clients from their trust accounts between July 2020 and December 2020. Of. McCallister gave notice to each client. The state agency concluded that it was abused, but made no compensation.
6, McCallister agrees to waive his procedural rights and accepts the recommended discipline of not being able to practice law in the state. A petition for disciplinary action will be reviewed by the state’s Supreme Court, which may accept or reject the dismissal recommendation.
success on the basketball court
New Prague, Minn. Growing up in the U.S., McCallister landed his first head coaching job at Breck in 2010, after spending a few years as an assistant at Minneapolis Henry and Holy Angels. They changed the break from a five-win team to a 19-win team that reached the section finals in 2013.
Croix Preparatory Academy, he spent four seasons at the Brooklyn Center, helping the Centaurs reach the Class 2A state tournament in 2018 for the first time in 35 years. He finished fourth.
McCallister coached Brooklyn Center for another season before taking a job at South St. Paul, a school that had won just 19 percent of its games in the previous 10-year stretch and a terrible 7-153 record in the Metro East Conference. created.
In McCallister’s first season, the Packers won 18 seasons, breaking a streak of 18 seasons in which they won less than 10 before losing in the section semifinals. Last season the team was leading 19–2, while losing 93–90 to Richfield in the section finals.
“It’s our time to come to MO and breathe life into the programs,” McCallister told Pioneer Press in the middle of its first season. “Now this is what we want to maintain.”
The undefeated Packers will next face off at Hastings High School on Friday.