5 South Florida attorneys, 5 others arrested in alleged patient-brokering scheme

Investigators say group profited more than $521,000

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Five South Florida attorneys and five of their accomplices were arrested earlier this month in an alleged patient-brokering scheme that earned them more than a half-million dollars in profits.

Detectives from the Broward Sheriff's Office and Fort Lauderdale Police Department began investigating in May 2015, with the help of state and federal authorities.

The investigation revealed that several personal injury attorneys were paying people to unlawfully solicit unsuspecting vehicle accident victims to make insurance claims for damages or personal injury benefits.

Investigators said the attorneys paid the solicitors on a per-client basis and then referred the accident victims to a health care facility in exchange for cash kickbacks of $1,500 to $2,500 per patient.

Authorities said the group received kickbacks totaling more than $521,000 from May 2015 to December 2016.

The attorneys were identified as Adam Hurtig, 46, of Fort Lauderdale, Alexander Kapetan, 44, of Lighthouse Point, Vincent Pravato, 48, of Davie, Steven Slootsky, 57, of Boca Raton, and Mark Spatz, 58, of Davie. The solicitors were identified as Joaquin Barreda, 39, of Plantation, Mark Eskin, 62, of Boca Raton, Richard Kist, 36, of Jupiter, Elvira Perchitti, 53, and James Perchitti, 61, both of Port St. Lucie.

Each suspect faces numerous charges, including organized fraud, criminal solicitation and patient brokering.