Section 111C. (a) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:?
''Provider'', an attorney, a health care professional licensed pursuant to chapter 112, 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'', 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'', 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 fraudulently obtain benefits under a contract of insurance or fraudulently assert a claim against an insured or an insurance carrier for providing services to the client, patient or customer. ''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) Whoever knowingly acts as a runner or uses, solicits, directs, hires or employs another to act as a runner for the purpose of defrauding an insured or an insurance carrier shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years, by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not less than 6 months nor more than 21/2 years or by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $4,000.