Daniel Kandler, the CEO of Chapters Recovery Treatment Center in Delray Beach, Florida, was arrested on Thursday for allegedly bribing his employees so they would bring patients to his rehab center for treatment. Kandler, 41, reportedly paid four of his employees over $325,000. He is being charged with 93 counts of patient brokering. News sources did not name an attorney for Kandler.
According to arrest records, Kandler used the same marketers as James Kigar, the owner of Whole Life Recovery in Boynton Beach. Kandler was arrested on similar charges last October.
One of the people Kandler and Kigar allegedly used was John Dudek. Dudek, who owns Southern Palm Oasis Inc., was also arrested on patient brokering charges last November. He was reportedly surprised when he learned that investigators were not investigating Kandler’s center.
Sophia Baurkot, Chapters Recovery’s former housing director, told news sources that a SWAT team raided the facility on December 6 while patients were in a therapy session. She said they took computers, files, and anything else that could prove that the rehab center was involved in illegal activity.
Baurkot reportedly stated that the center’s executives panicked after the arrests at Whole Life Recovery because they used the same tactics and personnel to get patients. Chapters Recovery allegedly paid between $500 and $1,000 for every patient marketers brought in, according to arrest records.
After the first wave of arrests, Baurkot was purportedly told that Chapters Recovery would no longer use marketers, except for three who were going to be hired as full-time employees. According to the press, Baurkot criticized the center for having lax rules; she said that sometimes curfews weren’t enforced and patients who were caught with drugs weren’t properly reprimanded.
Kandler’s arrest was the first made in connection to the December raid of the rehab center. However, it is the 16th arrest by the Palm Beach County Sober Homes Task Force as it continues to crack down on treatment facilities and sober homes that offer kickbacks in exchange for patients. Kandler has the highest number of patient brokering charges so far.
The task force, which is made up of several prosecutors and law enforcement agencies, is led by State Attorney Dave Aronberg. His office received a $275,000 appropriation last year to investigate and shut down unscrupulous South Florida rehab centers and sober homes. Marketers and sober-home operators have reportedly made millions of dollars brokering insured addicts to treatment centers in the region. More arrests are expected as the investigation continues.
Under Florida law, it is illegal for any healthcare provider to receive kickbacks in exchange for referring patients. Patient brokering is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The practice is reportedly so widespread, some sober-home operators don’t even know that it is illegal.