Although hiring a personal injury attorney is generally recommended in all personal injury-related cases, it's important that you do your research to ensure that you find a reputable personal injury lawyer that you can trust and rely on. Looking into the reputation of a personal injury lawyer before you hire them is even more important now that a multi-agency investigation involving alleged insurance fraud by personal injury lawyers has come to light.
The recent news that there is a large-scale investigation into a number of personal injury attorneys in South Florida relating to insurance fraud was revealed following the arrest of six lawyers on September 6th during an insurance fraud sting. According to Broward Sheriff deputy Detective Kristy Frederick, who led the sting, the case continues to be an ongoing investigation and more arrests are expected in the near future.
What's even more disturbing about the case is that none of the lawyers who have so far been arrested have a history of disciplinary action within the last decade. Several attorneys have been investigated from May of 2015 through December of 2016 and so far the alleged fraud is thought to amount to have made the lawyers involved over $521,00 during that period.
The lawyers who were arrested as part of the sting were caught taking monetary kickbacks on both audio and video. They are facing felony charges as a result of allegations that they paid for referrals from individuals with access to car accident reports, such as auto repair employees and tow truck drivers. These individuals were paid anywhere from $500 to $1,500 for each client that they referred to them to make insurance claims.
These referrals were used to make fraudulent motor vehicle tort and personal injury protection claims with two different medical practices, including the Broward Spine Associates and Margate Physicians, both of which were located in Plantation, FL and both of which are no longer in operation. One of the defendants, Adam Hurtig, allegedly had a fee-splitting agreement with these practices in which the settlement funds of some of his clients were diverted.
According to Detective Frederick, Hurtig was engaging in illegal solicitation and brokering in addition to misappropriating his clients' settlement funds. He allegedly used money from the settlements of his clients to pay for their medical bills, but the two medical practices he had his fee-splitting agreement with would then secretly return half of the amount to him.
Hurtig is currently facing 14 felony charges, which include 11 counts of patient brokering as well charges of money laundering, unlawful use of a two-way communication device and organized scheme to defraud.
Even though the personal injury attorneys that were arrested may not have had a history of wrongdoing on their records, it's still important that you do your due diligence when you choose a personal injury attorney to represent you. Always look online for client reviews, check with the Florida Bar Association to make sure that there are no disciplinary blemishes on their records and be sure to contact any references that they provide.
If you're in need of a personal injury attorney in South Florida, then contact us at The Law Office of Gloria Seidule for a free case evaluation today. Gloria Seidule has more than 25 years of experience and has built a stellar reputation for the quality of her work. She's even been invited to The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 based on the quality and success of her trial work.