Kenneth Chatman of Boynton Beach, Fransesia Davis of Lake Worth, and Michael Bonds of Delray Beach have been arrested by federal agents for running sober homes that allegedly allowed recovering addicts to use drugs. This allegedly occurred in order to abuse the patients’ insurance plans and lead the patients into prostitution.
The trio were arrested and charged together with their facilities’ medical directors: Donald Willems of Weston, Joaquin Mendez of Miramar, and Laura Chatman, Kenneth Chatman’s wife. It is unclear if any of the six have attorneys.
According to the federal complaint, all six were arrested for conspiring to defraud health insurance companies. During a bond hearing yesterday, the accused parties of Lake Worth and Boynton Beach were ordered held without bond by Judge William Mathewman. The other four accused will be held until they each post a $100,000 bond.
The first trio are the founders of several treatment facilities in Palm Beach and Broward counties, including Reflection Treatment Center, Total Recovery Sober Living, Redemption Sober House, and Stay’n Alive.
Investigators say the sober homes were supposed to be drug-free zones, but the defendants reportedly allowed the recovering addicts under their care to continue using drugs as long as they submitted to drug testing and attended treatment sessions. There are also allegations that the defendants arranged for the patients to prostitute themselves in exchange for drugs.
Instead of providing saliva and urine from patients for insurance purposes, the accused parties of Lake Worth and Boynton Beach allegedly submitted saliva and urine samples from employees. Their intention was purportedly to maximize insurance reimbursements.
“Where are the rules . . . of running a sober house? It seems like rules are being made up as we go,” said the accused of Delray Beach, who owns Redemption Sober House. He told news sources that he “wasn’t making any money” and was working on closing his facility, which only housed four patients, before the raid on December 21.
If convicted for conspiracy to commit health care fraud, the defendants could get sentences of up to 10 years in prison. The accused couple also face an additional charge for allegedly making a false statement related to a health care matter, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.