Sober Home Owner Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for $4.5 Million Kickback Scheme
A Florida woman was sentenced today to 30 months in prison for a scheme to solicit and receive illegal kickbacks and bribes in exchange for referring residents of her sober home to a substance abuse treatment center, which billed insurance companies $4.5 million for medically unnecessary drug testing and purported substance abuse treatment provided to those residents.
According to court documents, Marthe Hippolyte, 59, of Wellington, owned Turning Point Sober Home Inc. and a related marketing company, through which she operated several sober living residences in Florida to house individuals in a drug- and alcohol-free environment while they received treatment at substance abuse treatment centers. Hippolyte accepted approximately $254,000 in kickbacks and bribes, often disguised as management fees, from Kenneth Chatman, the operator of Reflections Treatment Center (RTC), a treatment center that purported to operate as a licensed substance abuse treatment center. In exchange for the kickbacks and bribes, Hippolyte helped bring in patients from outside Florida who could be referred to RTC and required residents of Turning Point’s sober homes to travel to RTC several times per week to attend purported substance abuse treatment sessions and submit to urine drug testing. For the residents referred to RTC by Hippolyte, Chatman and others billed private insurers $4.5 million for substance abuse and bodily fluid testing that was medically unnecessary, not reimbursable, and not provided as represented.
Hippolyte pleaded guilty on Jan. 25, to one count of conspiracy to violate the Travel Act. Chatman pleaded guilty in 2017 to conspiracy to commit health care fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, and was sentenced to 330 months imprisonment.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, and Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office made the announcement.
This case was investigated by the Greater Palm Beach Health Care Fraud Task Force. Agencies of the task force include the FBI; IRS-Criminal Investigation; Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Investigative & Forensic Services; Amtrak Office of Inspector General; and Department of Labor-Employee Benefits Security Administration.
Trial Attorney Gary A. Winters of the Fraud Section’s National Rapid Response Strike Force is prosecuting the case.