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Wellington man sentenced to 4 years for patient brokering

Posted at 7:32 PM, Apr 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-16 04:15:43-04

WELLINGTON, Fla. — For Gail Smith August 15, 2016 is a day that's ingrained in her memory.

"It's every parent's worst nightmare," she said.

That's the day she found out her 21-year old son Kenny was dead. He was found inside a sober living home. He moved to Palm Beach County to seek help for his drug addiction.

"He came down to get better and somehow he got caught in that web," Smith said.

In court, Monday she addressed the man she says is responsible for his death.

Bradley Vercosa, 51, has not been charged in connection with Smith's death, but he pleaded guilty to 31 counts of patient brokering and grand theft. Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley sentenced the Wellington resident to four years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

According to investigators, Vercosa allowed the residents in his sober home to use drugs as long as they went to drug treatment programs that he recommended. He operated several sober homes from West Palm Beach to Delray Beach.

"Kenny Smith's case is unfortunately all too common," Alan Johnson said.

Johnson is the Chief Assistant State Attorney for Dave Aronberg. In 2016, the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office created the Sober Homes Task Force in hopes of bringing overdose numbers down.

In 2017, Palm Beach County had more than 500 overdoses in the county - a year later that number was down by 41 percent.

"These are small victories and when I say victories, I mean getting these people shut down and getting them to stop behaving this way," Johnson said.

Smith says she and her husband have started a legitimate sober home in hopes of getting addicts they need. It's called the Kenny Smith Freedom Foundation.