Attorney Pleads Guilty to Insurance Fraud and Receives No Jail Time
One of six personal injury attorneys part of a multi-million dollar insurance fraud scheme has managed to avoid a prison sentence by entering a guilty plea. Steven Slootsky is a former Florida personal injury attorney who practiced law in Boca Raton, Florida. Slootsky, along with five other Florida personal injury lawyers, were arrested for paying for clients by using what is known as a kickback scheme.
A kickback scheme utilizes non-attorneys to solicit car accident victims for law firms that get payments from certain doctor's offices for referring the car accident victims as patients. This practice is highly unethical, not to mention illegal for both lawyers and doctors. If you have been injured in a car accident that wasn't your fault, we encourage you to reach out to the personal injury attorneys of Dolman Law Group for legal guidance. Our trustworthy team is available for a free consultation to discuss the details of your Florida car accident and explain the claims process.
6 Personal Injury Lawyers Charged in Florida Insurance Fraud
If you have been injured in an auto accident, you should be able to trust that when you hire a personal injury lawyer to negotiate your car accident lawsuit, they are giving you the legal advice that is in your best interest. Unfortunately, a group of personal injury lawyers in South Florida violated the trust of their clients by profiting off their situations in a kickback scheme. Federal prosecutors charged six Florida personal injury lawyers with running an insurance fraud scheme through several healthcare providers, such as Margate Physicians and Broward Spine Associates.
The six Florida personal injury lawyers were charged with a variety of felonies related to the kickback scheme. This includes patient brokering, organized fraud, and money laundering. All of the personal injury lawyers have since had their licenses to practice law in the state of Florida revoked and all mention of them has been removed from their respective firms.
One Lawyer Escapes Jail Time Through a Guilty Plea
The personal injury lawyers, as well as their healthcare provider accomplices, all face serious fines as well as time in prison for their crimes of racketeering and fraud. In the case of Steven Slootsky, prison time may have been avoided, but the Florida personal injury lawyer is still facing significant consequences. Steven Slootsky was sentenced by Broward Circuit Judge Michael A. Usan to 10 years probation on one count and five years probation, to be served concurrently, on 14 other counts.
In Slootsky's plea agreement, he had agreed to spend up to five years in prison and pay more than 170,000 in restitution. He was sentenced to all the stipulations in the guilty plea agreement, except for the prison time. These stipulations also included 500 hours of community service, the loss of ability to practice law, and restitution to the victims of the insurance scheme.
Understanding the Kickback Insurance Fraud Scheme
Slootsky and his associates were arrested for running what is called a “kickback” scheme. A kickback scheme is when a person or business uses a third party to find them new clients in exchange for a percentage of the profit for finding them a new client. This kind of scheme is closely associated with lawyers and healthcare providers that use it to accumulate business via illegal means. Kickback schemes can also be done in conjunction with other illicit business practices.
Kickback Schemes to Get Law Firm Clients
The six personal injury lawyers, as well as their various associates that helped run the kickback scheme, had a fairly textbook example of a kickback scheme. It all starts with a car accident where someone is injured. A tow truck driver or body shop owner would recommend one of the car accident lawyers in the kickback scheme. Then the driver would receive a cash payment for sending clients to the personal injury lawyers and doctors.
The car accident victim that was injured would take the advice from the tow truck driver or body shop owner as legitimately useful advice from someone who has experience with dealing with such things. Little do they know that the suggestion is not a sincere recommendation, but has been bought by a law firm and/or healthcare provider competing for their business. This is why this practice is considered unethical and therefore illegal in the eyes of federal and state law.
These six lawyers, including Mr. Slootsky, were doing what is commonly known as “ambulance chasing”. Instead of the old image of car accident lawyers waiting outside emergency rooms to ambush injured people with solicitations of their services, Slootsky and his partners in crime utilized more indirect methods of soliciting services that are still just as illegal.
The Role of Healthcare Providers in a Kickback Scheme
The next part of the scheme would be for the lawyers to recommend a specific healthcare provider, such as Margate Physicians and Broward Spine Associates. In this case, the auto accident lawyers and the healthcare providers will have worked out a deal where they share the profits for sending clients their way, mirroring the way the tow truck drivers recommended the car accident lawyers and received a payout. Once again this act of sending clients to a healthcare provider as part of a deal to share profit is completely illegal. Patients should not have to worry about being coerced into choosing a certain healthcare provider by someone under their payroll.
Kickback Schemes to get PIP Insurance Money
Once the injured car accident victim becomes a client of the healthcare provider, then they can start billing the client's PIP or Personal Injury Protection insurance for their profit. This is where the insurance fraud portion of the six personal injury lawyer's sentences comes in. Florida law explicitly prohibits healthcare providers from receiving these kinds of payments related to referrals.
Florida and Federal Law Prohibiting Kickback Schemes and Fraud
Kickback schemes are seen as a form of negotiated bribery where a commission is paid to a bribe-taker in exchange for their services which in this case would be client referral. The federal Anti-Kickback Statute is a criminal statute that prohibits kickbacks in addition to a variety of other anti-insurance fraud laws that prevent the abuse of PIP insurance. Florida itself has several laws on the state level that prohibit the acts taken by Slootsky's associates as well.
Why Should I Choose Dolman Law Group to Represent Me?
At Dolman Law Group, it is a point of pride for us to be able to say that we built our firm based on clients recommending us to their friends. We work tirelessly for our injured clients and set a high standard for ourselves as your advocates. The car accident lawyers of Dolman Law Group have earned a sterling reputation by conducting ourselves with integrity and securing consistent results for our clients.
We understand how important it is to recover compensation that reflects your damages, and we will relentlessly pursue a settlement that meets your needs. Our team has a history of settling complex claims for fair compensation. In fact, other personal injury law firms often ask us to take on their more challenging claims.
The auto accident attorneys of Dolman Law Group have the knowledge and experience to represent you effectively in your car accident claim. You will receive the attention you deserve as we act as your negotiators. Our clients know that they can trust us to act in their best interest as we pursue maximum compensation on their behalf in a car accident lawsuit.
Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Car Accident Lawsuit
Car accidents typically entail a number of financial, physical, and emotional consequences. When another driver's negligence has interfered with your ability to perform your job, care for your home, or enjoy your life you should consider seeking compensation in a car accident lawsuit. The seasoned auto accident attorneys of Dolman Law Group will negotiate on your behalf to maximize your compensation.
Our team has represented numerous injured clients at trial in order to secure a settlement that reflected their damages, so you can rest assured that you won't be pressured into an inadequate settlement just to close the case. The car accident lawyers of Dolman Law Group are skilled negotiators who will be by your side for every step of the personal injury claims process. We make it a habit to go above and beyond for our clients, and you can trust us to do the same for you.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, then do not hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a free consultation on your claim. Our skilled auto accident lawyers have the expertise that you will need to secure the settlement that you deserve and hold the parties liable for your injuries accountable.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765