Amanda LaFrance of Boynton Beach, Florida, was arrested on December 3 on multiple patient brokering charges. LaFrance, 25, is the eighth and youngest halfway house owner to be arrested by the Palm Beach County Sober Homes Task Force that’s investigating patient brokering cases in South Florida. She is being held in Palm Beach County Jail on $3,000 bond. The press did not name an attorney for her.
LaFrance’s halfway house, Saved By Grace, was implicated by Whole Life Recovery, a treatment center in Boynton Beach. James Kigar, the owner of Whole Life Recovery, and Christoper Hutson, the facility’s operations manager, were the first to be arrested by the task force on October 25. They reportedly paid illegal kickbacks to halfway-house managers like LaFrance for referrals of insured patients to their treatment program.
Kigar purportedly paid halfway house owners as much as $525 a week per patient for case management services. Court records show that LaFrance allegedly received 13 checks worth $6,750 from Whole Life Recovery for such services.
According to the affidavit, Whole Life Recovery told police that the money paid out for case management services was for helping clients get food stamps and bus passes. But Florida law prohibits treatment facilities from giving “any bonus, kickback, or bribe” in exchange for patient referrals.
The crackdown on the practice is being led by State Attorney Dave Aronberg. Aronberg formed the special task force making the arrests earlier this year with funds from the legislature. He told news sources that more arrests are expected to be made.
LaFrance is the eight person to be accused of patient brokering. The other seven are Bryan Norquist and his brother Patrick Norquist, John Dudek, Howard James Fowler Jr., Ehab Iskander, James Kigar, and Christopher Hutson.