“Bodybroker” has already been charged in Massachusetts. Now California’s addiction treatment kickback program is being charged with fraud

A Massachusetts man previously charged with allegedly defrauding people seeking drug abuse treatment is now facing federal charges for allegedly raising $ 548,000 in bribes as a “body broker,” according to court records Driven patient to a California clinic.

Michael T. Hislop is due to appear in California on January 10th for allegedly collecting bribes from the owners of the Crest Recovery treatment center in exchange for keeping patients covered for nearly two years on the for-profit operation has. according to court records.

Hislop, 56, is currently on a $ 25,000 unsecured loan after being arrested on new federal charges last week. He is alleged to have conspired with California men Nick Roshdieh, 51, from Aliso Viejo, and Vincent Bindi, 66, from Laguna Nigel to pay and receive bribes, according to US prosecutors. A fourth man, Donald Vawter, 30, from Rancho Santa Margarita, was an employee, according to court records, who has now faced similar charges.

“These corrupt individuals are paying illegal kickbacks to get insured patients whose health insurance pays generous benefits to cover legitimate treatments and tests,” California Central District Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison said in a statement. “Many convalescent institutions provide urgently needed services for addicts. Those targeted in this wake are capitalizing on our country’s opioid crisis by fueling a patient sales network that is more interested in making a profit than helping those in need. “

The Boston Globe and STAT published a series in 2017 documenting an extensive national network of insurance fraud in which drug users were recruited by “patient mediators” to seek treatment in other states in order to take advantage of their benefit payments.

Hislop has been charged on multiple charges of $ 250 theft and filing a false health claim or claim, and these cases are pending in Suffolk Superior Court, where he has pleaded not guilty.

Daniel C. Reilly, who represents Hislop on the state prosecution, wrote in an email that “we are actively reviewing the materials provided by the Commonwealth and preparing an energetic defense.”

Reilly said Hislop was looking for a lawyer to represent him in front of the California courthouse. “Since it is still so early in this case and at this point in time there is still no access to knowledge, we would simply like to repeat that he also made a plea for not guilty there,” he wrote. “We have no further comments at the moment.”

John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.

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