A high profile task force with a mission to fight the opioid crisis in Palm Beach County, suffered its first defeat. A man accused of patient brokering is off the hook, after the State Attorney's Office had to drop the case.
The Palm Beach Sober Home Task Force has arrested more than 40 people since October 2016. But Jayeshkumar Dave no longer faces up to 10 years in prison for patient brokering.
Dave is the owner and operator of the Wellness Center of Palm Beach County.
In his arrest report, a West Palm Beach detective claimed witnesses said Dave offered cigarettes and gift cards, even free or subsidized rent, to attend intensive outpatient therapy.
Florida's patient brokering law makes it illegal to pay of accept "any commission, bonus, rebate, kickback, or bribe," to induce the referral of patients.
In a motion to dismiss, Dave's attorney argued, the detective lied.
"You know you can’t break the law in order to get somebody who you think is breaking the law.
There were a number of false statements in the probable cause affidavit and in the affidavits for the search warrants they got for his business and his Facebook account," says Dave's attorney, Grey Tesh.
For example, in his motion, Grey says the paperwork from West Palm PD says "Hitch stated she was given one pack of L&M brand cigarettes for attending IOP therapy."
Grey says, "people didn’t say it was an incentive, they said it was a reward for doing a number of things." For example, "arriving on time, attending therapy throughout the day, and obtaining a positive report from the therapist," according to the motion.
"Gift cards, that was another one. (Police said) it was an incentive for going there, and nobody said it was an incentive. They said everybody got those no matter what, they got them for hygiene and food and they got them on Sunday," said Tesh.
The state dropped the charges, but disagrees with Tesh's impression of why. The State Attorney's Office told Contact 5 the defense demanded a speedy trial, and witnesses they planned to call would not be available in time.
Contact 5 also talked with the West Palm Beach police department. They denied the claim their detective lied, and said he is not under investigation.