Department of Justice Announces Series of Cases to Combat Addiction Treatment Kickback Programs in Southern California | GRANDPA

In the past 10 months, the Department of Justice has filed criminal charges against 10 defendants for kickback programs at substance abuse treatment facilities in Orange County, California.

The defendants in these cases are owners of addictive substance facilities and patient recruiters who, among other things, allegedly paid bribes for referring patients to addictive substance treatment facilities, recovery centers or laboratories. These facility owners reportedly assigned patients a score based on the type of insurance the patients had and 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.

“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 who seek help. These cases illustrate the government’s commitment to protecting patients and prosecuting those who try to harass them. “

“Driven by greed, dishonest drug abuse treatment center operators invaded southern California, but a coalition of law enforcement agencies responded vigorously,” said US Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison for the Central District of California. “These corrupt individuals are paying illegal kickbacks to get insured patients whose health insurance pays generous benefits to cover legitimate treatments and tests. While many convalescent facilities 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.

“The defendants in these cases were more interested in making profits and exploiting patients than helping those in need,” said Jay Greenberg, assistant director of the FBI’s crime department. “Kickback programs undermine the integrity of our healthcare system by rewarding a focus on profit rather than patient care. The FBI and our law enforcement partners are committed to protecting the American healthcare system and its dependent citizens. “

“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.”

Case summaries

  • According to court records dated December 16, Nick Roshdieh, 51, of Aliso Viejo, Calif., And Vincent Bindi, 66, of Laguna Nigel, Calif., Owned Crest Recovery LLC, dba Truvida Recovery (Truvida) and were arrested after being charged on Jan. December, conspiring to pay and receive kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities and payment of kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities. Donald Vawter, 30, of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., Was a Truvida employee charged on the indictment of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for drug abuse treatment facility referrals and drug abuse treatment facility referrals. Michael Hislop, 56, of Boston, Massachusetts, a patient recruiter, was also charged in the indictment with conspiracy to offer and pay kickbacks for drug abuse treatment facility referrals and to receive kickbacks for drug abuse treatment facility referrals. If convicted, Roshdieh and Bindi face a maximum aggregate sentence of 65 years in prison, and Vawter and Hislop face a maximum aggregate sentence of 35 years in prison. The cases are being followed up by Litigation Attorney Alexandra Michael of the Los Angeles Strike Force and U.S. Assistant Attorney Gina Kong of the Santa Ana Branch.
  • Casey Mahoney, 45, of Los Angeles and Joseph Parkinson, 32, formerly of Costa Mesa, California, were indicted on October 6 of a multi-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 referring patients for addiction treatment. Mahoney is charged with conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities, payment of kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities, and money laundering for 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 aggregate sentence of 35 years in prison and Parkinson’s faces a maximum aggregate sentence of 165 years in prison. The case is being prosecuted by US Assistant Attorney Benjamin Barron, director of the Santa Ana branch, and trial attorney Justin Givens of the Los Angeles Strike Force.
  • Darius Moore, 28, formerly of Santa Ana, Calif., 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 addiction treatment facilities in Orange County in exchange for kickback payments from the facilities. On December 10, Moore pleaded guilty to one case of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities and once of receiving kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities. He is due to be sentenced on May 13, 2022 and faces a maximum total sentence of 15 years in prison. The case is being prosecuted by US Assistant Attorney Benjamin Barron, director of the Santa Ana branch, and trial attorney Justin Givens of the Los Angeles Strike Force.
  • Adrian Gonzalez, 37, of Laguna Hills, Calif., Was charged on June 25, after 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. On August 6, Gonzalez pleaded guilty to paying kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities. He is due to be convicted on January 28, 2022 and faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The case is being prosecuted by US Assistant Attorney Benjamin Barron, director of the Santa Ana branch, and trial attorney Justin Givens of the Los Angeles Strike Force.
  • Dorian Ballough, 30, formerly of Costa Mesa, Calif., Was charged on July 30th 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. On November 12, Ballough pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for clinical treatment referrals and once found guilty of receiving kickbacks for clinical treatment referrals. He is due to be sentenced on April 8, 2022 and faces a maximum total sentence of 15 years in prison. The case is being prosecuted by US Assistant Attorney Benjamin Barron, director of the Santa Ana branch, and trial attorney Justin Givens of the Los Angeles Strike Force.
  • Kyle Reed, 29, formerly of Huntington Beach, Calif., Was charged on July 30th 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. On November 19, Reed pleaded guilty to conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for clinical treatment referrals and a clinical treatment referral bribe charge. He is due to be sentenced on May 6, 2022 and faces a maximum total sentence of 15 years in prison. The case is being prosecuted by US Assistant Attorney Benjamin Barron, director of the Santa Ana branch, and trial 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 Los Angeles Strike Force of the Health Care Fraud Unit of the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division and the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, and is coordinated by Assistant Chief Niall O’Donnell of the Health Care Fraud Unit and Benjamin Barron, chief of the US Attorney’s Office in Santa Ana.

The FBI Los Angeles Field Office, OPM-OIG, and the California Department of Insurance are investigating the cases.

An indictment is just an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven beyond doubt in a court of law.

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