The Department of Justice has arrested six people in an alleged health care fraud scheme involving sober homes and alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers. One of the people arrested is connected to several treatment centers and sober homes in South Florida.
The report from the Department of Justice claims Kenneth Chatman, who is listed as an administrator on the website for Reflections Treatment Center in Margate, threatened patients to make them stay in his treatment facilities so that he could continue to "fraudulently bill their insurance companies."
Chatman along with six others including doctors, owners, and staff members of treatment facilities are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. John Lehman, President of the Florida Association of Recovery Residences says he has been receiving complaints about Chatman and his drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers for three years.
"We had received a number of them that were related to Reflections in Margate as well as sober homes that were allegedly operated by Kenneth Chatman, so we forwarded all of that informational it was requested by those law enforcement agencies," said Lehman.
The Department of Justice lists several accusations against the group in its report, including bribing patients to attend their drug treatment centers to bill their insurances, allowing many of the patients to continue using drugs. Chatman is accused of threatening patients to keep them from leaving facilities, even recruiting women to engage in prostitution. Lehman says he received complaints that patient's belongings were taken away.
"Their cell Phones were being held hostage and once a week they were provided an opportunity it reach out to their family members while someone was watching over the conversation," added Lehman.
In July of 2015, a mother in New Jersey contacted NewsChannel 5 after her daughter went missing from suburban West Palm Beach sober home. She had two contacts for her daughter, Kenneth Chatman and Fransesa aka Francine Davis, both arrested by DOJ.
Paula Reiff says her daughter was a patient at Reflections Treatment Center in Margate. After NewsChannel 5 notified Chatman about airing a story on Lauren Reiff's disappearance, Chatman found Lauren less than 48 hours later. Paula says the FBI interviewed her daughter last month for its investigation into Chatman.
Lehman says the credible complaints against Chatman have come from former sober home residents, patients, former Refelections Treatment staff members, even a former business partner.
If convicted, DOJ says Chatman could face a maximim ten year prison sentence for the conspiracy to commit health care fraud charge against him and five years for the making a false statement related to a health care matter charge.