Department of Justice Announces Case of Combating Addiction Treatment Kickback Programs in Orange County | USAO-CDCA

SANTA ANA, Calif. – In the past 10 months, the Department of Justice has filed criminal charges against 10 defendants – four of whom are in custody today – for kickback programs at substance abuse treatment facilities in Orange County.

The defendants in these cases, indicted under the Sober Homes Initiative, are drug abuse facility owners and patient recruiters who, among other things, paid bribes for referring patients to drug abuse treatment facilities, recovery homes, or laboratories. These facility owners allegedly assigned a value to patients based on the type of insurance the patients had and then paid kickbacks to patient recruiters for each patient referred to their addiction treatment centers by recruiters. Recruiters allegedly received recurring payments for each month that patients continued to receive alleged services from the facilities.

“Driven by greed, dishonest drug abuse treatment center operators have invaded southern California, but a coalition of law enforcement agencies has responded vigorously,” said US Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. “These corrupt individuals pay illegal kickbacks to get insured patients whose health insurance pays generous benefits to cover legitimate treatments and tests. While many convalescent institutions are providing urgently needed services to addicts, those targeted are capitalizing on our country’s opioid crisis by fueling a patient sales network that is more interested in making profits than helping those in need. “

“These cases reflect the Department of Justice’s continued efforts to combat fraud by drug abuse treatment facilities and patient recruiters,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Department of Justice’s Department of Criminal Investigation. “These programs take advantage of vulnerable members of our society – addicts seeking help. These cases illustrate the government’s commitment to protecting patients and prosecuting those who try to harass them. “

“Fraudulent drug abuse treatment kickbacks create perverse incentives for patient recruiters who often leave addicts in a toxic cycle of drug use and treatment,” said Kristi K. Johnson, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles branch. “The FBI is committed to fighting health system fraud so addicts can find legitimate care, and is encouraging patients and staff to report kickbacks.”

“It is ruthless when owners and operators of substance abuse facilities abuse the systems that are supposed to help patients recover from their addiction,” said Amy K. Parker, Special Representative of the Inspector General’s Office of Personal Management Office (OPM-OIG ). “We take great pride in the dedication of our dedicated employees and state law enforcement agencies to prosecuting inappropriate and illegal behavior that puts vulnerable healthcare consumers at risk.”

“The suspects in this case specifically targeted people at risk in recovery and sold them without regard to their health or welfare,” said California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “Getting kickbacks for patient referrals puts lives at risk and has no place in our healthcare system.”

Cases indicted on the Sober Homes Initiative

  • Nick Roshdieh, 51, of Aliso Viejo, and Vincent Bindi, 66, of Laguna Nigel, which owned Crest Recovery LLC (dba Truvida Recovery), were arrested this morning on charges involving a conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for wire transfers provides for clinical treatment facilities and the payment of kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities.
  • Donald Vawter, 30, of Rancho Santa Margarita, a Truvida employee, was also arrested today and charged in the indictment of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for referrals to a drug abuse treatment facility and kickbacks for drug referrals Abuse Treatment Facility.
  • Michael Hislop, 56, of Boston, Massachusetts, a patient recruiter, was also arrested today after the same indictment alleged conspiracy to offer and pay kickbacks for referrals to a drug abuse treatment facility and kickbacks for referrals to a. to obtain facility for substance abuse treatment.

If convicted, Roshdieh and Bindi would face a maximum aggregate sentence of 65 years in prison and Vawter and Hislop a maximum aggregate sentence of 35 years in prison.

This case is being followed by Assistant Attorney General Gina Kong of the Santa Ana Branch and Trial Attorney Alexandra Michael of the Los Angeles Strike Force.

  • Casey Mahoney, 45, from Los Angeles and Joseph Parkinson, 32, formerly of Costa Mesa, were charged in October with a million dollar addiction treatment kickback program. According to court documents, Mahoney controlled Healing Path Detox LLC and Get Real Recovery Inc., addiction treatment facilities in Orange County, and allegedly paid approximately $ 2.7 million in kickbacks to Parkinson’s and other patient recruiters in exchange for referrals from addiction treatment patients.

Mahoney is charged with conspiracy to conspire to pay and receive kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities, payment of kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities, and money laundering for the fraudulent transfer of kickbacks to an account on behalf of the mother of a patient mediator. Parkinson, a patient recruiter, was charged with conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for clinical treatment referrals, clinical treatment referral kickbacks, currency structuring, and possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl.

If convicted, Mahoney faces a maximum sentence of 35 years and Parkinson’s faces a maximum sentence of 165 years.

  • Darius Moore, 28, formerly of Santa Ana, was charged on March 29 and later April 28 on charges of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities and to receive kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities. According to court documents, Moore, a patient recruiter, referred patients to several Orange County addiction treatment facilities in exchange for kickbacks from the facilities. Moore is said to have received no less than $ 488,500 in kickbacks in return for referring patients to alleged addiction treatment services.

Moore pleaded guilty on Dec. 10 of a conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities and an indictment of receiving kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities. He is due to be sentenced on May 13, 2022, when he faces a maximum legal sentence of 15 years in prison.

  • Adrian Gonzalez, 37, of Laguna Hills, was charged on June 25, following information, of paying bribes for referrals to clinical treatment facilities. According to court documents, Gonzalez Stone Ridge Recovery Inc. and Landmark Recovery LLC controlled addiction treatment facilities in Orange County and paid at least $ 1,080,000 in bribes to patient recruiters for referring addiction patients to Gonzalez facilities.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty on August 6 of paying bribes for referrals to clinical treatment facilities. He is due to be sentenced on January 28, 2022, when he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

  • Dorian Ballough, 30, formerly of Costa Mesa, was charged with conspiracy on July 30, allegedly alleged to have been charged with conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities and to receive kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities. According to court documents, Ballough acted as a patient recruiter for several Orange County addiction treatment facilities, for which Ballough received at least $ 1.8 million in kickbacks in exchange for referring patients to alleged addiction treatment services.

Ballough pleaded guilty on Nov. 12 of one case of conspiracy to pay and receive bribes for clinical treatment referrals and once of receiving clinical treatment referral bribes. He is due to be sentenced on April 8, 2022 and faces a maximum total sentence of 15 years in prison.

  • Kyle Reed, 29, formerly of Huntington Beach, was charged on July 30 with conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities and to receive kickbacks for clinical treatment facility referrals. According to court documents, the charges relate to Reed’s role as a patient recruiter for several Orange County addiction treatment facilities, for which Reed was paid at least $ 604,474 in kickbacks in exchange for referring patients for alleged addiction treatment services.

Reed pleaded guilty on November 19 of a conspiracy to pay and receive bribes for referrals to clinical treatment facilities and a charge of receiving bribes for referrals to clinical treatment facilities. He is due to be sentenced on May 6, 2022 and faces a maximum total sentence of 15 years in prison.

All cases, with the exception of the Truvida-related matter, are being pursued by U.S. Assistant Attorney Benjamin Barron, director of the Santa Ana branch, and Attorney Justin Givens of the Los Angeles Strike Force.

A federal district court judge will determine each sentence for the defendants after considering U.S. sentencing guidelines and other legal factors.

The Sober Homes Initiative in Southern California is led by the US Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles Strike Force of the Fraud Division of the Criminal Division of the Health Care Fraud Unit. The initiative was coordinated by Assistant Attorney Benjamin Barron and Deputy Chief Niall O’Donnell of the Healthcare Fraud Division.

The FBI’s Los Angeles office, OPM-OIG, and the California Department of Insurance are investigating the cases announced today.

An indictment contains allegations and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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