Treatment Center Owners Plead Guilty in Multi-Million Dollar Health Care Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme Involving Sober Homes and Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Centers
Two treatment center owners pled guilty for their participation in a multi-million dollar health care fraud and money laundering scheme that involved the filing of fraudulent insurance claim forms and defrauded health care benefit programs.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Robert F. Lasky, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); Jimmy Patronis, Florida Chief Financial Officer; Michael J. Waters, Special Agent in Charge, Amtrak Office of Inspector General (Amtrak-OIG); Isabel Colon, Regional Director, United States Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (DOL-EBSA); and Dennis Russo, Director of Operations, National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), made the announcement.
Tovah Lynn Jasperson, a/k/a Tara, 48, of Wellington, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1347; all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349.
Alan Martin Bostom, 75, of Wellington, pled guilty to one count of making false statements related to a health care matter, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1035(a)(1).
According to court documents, Jasperson and Bostom were the owners of Angel’s Recovery, a business with multiple locations in Palm Beach County that purportedly operated as a licensed substance abuse service provider (or treatment center) offering clinical treatment services for persons suffering from alcohol and drug addiction. Angel’s Recovery also offered medication-based treatment for opioid addiction.
At different times, the defendants managed all aspects of Angel’s Recovery, including hiring and firing personnel, admitting and discharging patients, and making financial decisions. To secure a steady stream of patients, the defendants established illegal kickback/bribe relationships with owners of sober homes, in exchange for referring the sober homes’ insured residents to Angel’s Recovery for treatment. Sober homes were purportedly in the business of providing safe and drug-free residences for individuals suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. The defendants provided the money used to purchase or rent several properties used as “sober homes,” although the purchase agreements or leases would bear the names of third parties.
The defendants and co-conspirators provided kickbacks and bribes, in the form of free or reduced rent, insurance premium payments, and other benefits to individuals with insurance who agreed to reside at the sober homes and attend drug treatment, which included regular and random drug testing (typically three or more times per week), so that members of the conspiracy could bill the testing and treatment to the residents’ insurance plans. To disguise kickbacks and bribes to patients, the defendants used a separate entity to pay insurance premiums for patients of Angel’s Recovery so that Angel’s Recovery could continue to bill the patients’ insurance companies for treatment expenses.
Jasperson and Bostom hired a doctor to serve as the medical director of Angel’s Recovery who frequently pre-signed prescriptions that were used to dispense controlled substances to patients of Angel’s Recovery by other employees. After the doctor’s medical license was suspended, the defendants continued to employ him and failed to inform the Florida Department of Children and Families because it could not continue to operate as a licensed facility without a licensed medical director.
The defendants and co-conspirators caused the submission of insurance claims that: falsely stated the testing and treatment were medically necessary, failed to disclose that patients were referred to Angel’s Recovery in exchange for kickbacks and bribes, failed to disclose that patients were not asked to pay kickbacks and deductibles, failed to disclose that the defendants paid some patients’ insurance premiums, and failed to disclose that the prescribing physician’s license was suspended.
Jasperson faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment. Bostom faces a maximum of five years imprisonment. Sentencing is scheduled for May 11, 2018 at 10 a.m.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the Greater Palm Beach Health Care Fraud Task Force. Agencies of the task force include the FBI, IRS-CI, the Florida Division of Investigative and Forensic Services, Amtrak-OIG, DOL-EBSA, and NICB. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney A. Marie Villafaña.