Howard James Fowler Jr. and Ehab Iskander are the latest Palm Beach County halfway-house owners to be arrested by the Sober Home Task Force on alleged patient brokering charges. The two men are accused of receiving illegal kickbacks for brokering insured patients to Whole Life Recovery, a Boyton Beach treatment facility.
Fowler, 26, of Delray Beach, Florida, was arrested on Monday on 14 counts of patient brokering. He was ordered held without bond at Palm Beach County Jail until he can prove that the money he uses to post bail is legally obtained.
Iskander, 33, of West Palm Beach, Florida, was arrested on Tuesday on six counts of patient brokering. His bond was set at $18,000 and he was released once the state confirmed that the money he provided to bail out of jail was not obtained from brokering patients. The press did not name attorneys for the two men.
Iskander is the owner of Integrity House, a sober home in Lake Worth and Fowler operated Anchorage Sober Living in Delray Beach. Both facilities allegedly received illegal kickbacks from Whole Life Recovery in exchange for patient referrals.
Iskander and Fowler purportedly had patient referral contracts with Whole Life Recovery disguised as case-management services that assist recovering patients to acquire things like food stamps and bus passes.
Case-management agreements are reportedly used by treatment centers to circumvent the state’s patient brokering law. The law makes it illegal for centers to “offer or pay any commission . . . kickback or bribe” for patient referrals to a specific healthcare provider.
Police claim Iskander and Fowler received weekly checks from James Kigar, the head of Whole Life Recovery. Kigar was the first to be arrested by the Sober Home Task Force last month on multiple patient brokering charges.
The task force was formed by State Attorney Dave Aronberg in July. Aronberg told news sources that these arrests mark “the beginning of cleaning up the industry.” Marketers and halfway-house operators have reportedly made millions of dollars brokering insured addicts to treatment facilities in South Florida.
The practice is reportedly so widespread, some sober home operators don’t even know that it’s illegal.