Department of Justice Announces Series of Cases to Tackle Drug Addiction Bribery Programs in Orange County | USAO-CDCA

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SANTA ANA, California – In the past 10 months, the Justice Department has filed criminal charges against 10 defendants – four of whom were arrested today – for bribery schemes at county drug treatment centers of Orange.

The defendants in these cases indicted as a result of the Sober Homes initiative are owners of drug addiction facilities and patient recruiters who, among other things, have provided bribes for referral of patients to facilities. drug treatment centers, salvage homes or laboratories. These facility owners would have assigned a value to patients based on the type of insurance they had and then paid kickbacks to patient recruiters for each patient the recruiters referred to their drug treatment facilities. Recruiters reportedly received recurring payments for each month that patients continued to receive the facilities’ purported services.

“Driven by greed, rogue drug treatment center operators have invaded Southern California, but a coalition of law enforcement entities has responded forcefully,” said U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. “These corrupt individuals pay illegal bribes to get insured patients whose health plans pay generous benefits to cover legitimate treatment and testing. While many recovery centers provide much-needed services to drug addicts, the people targeted in this sweep are profiting from the opioid crisis in our country by fueling a sales network of patients more concerned with generating profits than helping the vulnerable. .

“These cases reflect the Department of Justice’s continued efforts to combat fraud by drug treatment facilities and patient recruiters,” said Deputy Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Department’s Criminal Division. of Justice. “These programs benefit vulnerable members of our society – drug addiction patients who seek help. These cases illustrate the government’s commitment to protect patients and prosecute those who attempt to victimize them.

“Fraudulent drug treatment bribes create perverse incentives for patient recruiters who often leave addicts in a toxic cycle of drug use and treatment,” said Kristi K. Johnson, deputy director in charge of the FBI field office in Los Angeles. “The FBI is committed to fighting healthcare fraud so people with addictions can find legitimate care and encourages patients and employees to report bribery schemes.”

“It is unreasonable when owners and operators of drug addiction facilities abuse systems designed to help patients recover from addiction,” said Special Agent in Charge Amy K. Parker of the Office of Personnel Management of the Office of the Inspector General (OPM-OIG). “We are extremely proud of the commitment of our dedicated staff and our federal law enforcement partner to prosecute inappropriate and illegal behavior that puts vulnerable health care consumers at risk. “

“The suspects in this case specifically targeted vulnerable recovering people and sold them as a commodity without regard to their health or well-being,” California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said. “Receiving bribes for patient referrals is life-threatening and has no place in our healthcare system. “

Cases indicted as a result of the Sober Homes initiative

  • Nick Roshdieh, 51, of Aliso Viejo, and Vincent Bindi, 66, of Laguna Nigel, who owned Crest Recovery LLC (dba Truvida Recovery), were arrested this morning on charges contained in an indictment which allege a conspiracy to pay and receive bribes for referrals to clinical treatment facilities and to pay bribes for referrals to clinical treatment facilities.
  • Donald Vawter, 30, of Rancho Santa Margarita, an employee of Truvida, was also arrested today and was charged in the indictment with conspiring to pay and receive bribes. wine for being referred to a drug abuse treatment center and for paying bribes for referrals to a substance abuse treatment center.
  • Michael Hislop, 56, of Boston, Massachusetts, a patient recruiter, was also arrested today under the same indictment which alleges a conspiracy to offer and pay bribes for referral to a drug treatment center and receiving bribes for referral to a drug treatment center.

If found guilty, Roshdieh and Bindi would face a total maximum sentence of 65 years in prison, and Vawter and Hislop would face a total maximum sentence of 35 years in prison.

This case is being pursued by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gina Kong of the Santa Ana branch and trial attorney Alexandra Michael of the Los Angeles Strike Force.

  • Casey Mahoney, 45, of Los Angeles, and Joseph Parkinson, 32, formerly of Costa Mesa, were charged in October as part of a multi-million dollar bribe program to treat the substance addiction. According to court documents, Mahoney controlled Healing Path Detox LLC and Get Real Recovery Inc., addiction treatment centers in Orange County, and allegedly paid around $ 2.7 million in bribes to Parkinson’s and other patient recruiters in exchange for referrals for drug treatment.

Mahoney is charged with conspiring to pay and receive bribes for referrals to clinical treatment facilities, paying bribes for referrals to clinical treatment facilities and money laundering. money for fraudulently transferring bribe funds to an account held in the name of the mother of a patient broker. Parkinson, a patient recruiter, has been charged with conspiring to pay and receive bribes for referrals to clinical treatment facilities, receiving bribes for referrals to medical facilities. clinical treatment, currency structuring and possession with the intention of dispensing fentanyl.

If convicted, Mahoney would face a total maximum sentence of 35 years in prison and Parkinson would face a total maximum sentence of 165 years in prison.

  • Darius Moore, 28, formerly of Santa Ana, was charged by complaint on March 29, followed by indictment on April 28, with conspiracy to pay and receive bribes for referrals to treatment facilities clinic and receive bribes for referrals to clinical treatment facilities. According to court documents, Moore, a patient recruiter, referred patients to several drug treatment facilities in Orange County in exchange for bribe payments from the facilities. Moore is said to have received as much as $ 488,500 in bribes in return for referring patients to so-called drug treatment services.

Moore pleaded guilty Dec.10 to one count of conspiring to pay and receive bribes for referrals to clinical treatment facilities and one count of receiving bribes -vin for referrals to clinical treatment facilities. He is expected to be sentenced on May 13, 2022, when he will face a legal maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

  • Adrian Gonzalez, 37, of Laguna Hills, was reportedly accused on June 25 of paying bribes for being referred to clinical treatment centers. According to court documents, Gonzalez controlled Stone Ridge Recovery Inc. and Landmark Recovery LLC, drug treatment facilities in Orange County, and paid at least $ 1,080,000 in bribes to patient recruiters for referral of drug addiction treatment patients to the Gonzalez facilities.

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

  • Dorian Ballough, 30, formerly of Costa Mesa, was indicted by information on July 30 with conspiracy to pay and receive bribes for referrals to clinical treatment facilities and to receive bribes -vin for referrals to clinical treatment facilities. According to court documents, Ballough acted as a patient recruiter for several drug treatment facilities in Orange County, for which Ballough received at least $ 1.8 million in bribes in return. of his referral of patients to so-called drug treatment services.

Ballough pleaded guilty on November 12 to one count of conspiring to pay and receiving kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities and to one count of receiving kickbacks for referrals to clinical treatment facilities. He is due to be sentenced on April 8, 2022 and faces a total maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

  • Kyle Reed, 29, formerly of Huntington Beach, was investigated on July 30 with conspiracy to pay and receive bribes for referrals to clinical treatment facilities and to receive bribes de-vin for referrals to clinical treatment facilities. According to court documents, the charges relate to Reed’s role as a patient recruiter for several drug treatment facilities in Orange County, for which Reed received at least $ 604,474 in kickbacks in return for his referral of patients to so-called drug treatment services.

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

All cases, with the exception of the Truvida case, are being pursued by Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Barron, Santa Ana Branch Chief, and Los Angeles Strike Force Attorney Justin Givens.

A federal district court judge will determine any sentence for defendants after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

The Sober Homes initiative in Southern California is led by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles Strike Force of the Healthcare Fraud Unit of the Fraud Section of the Division criminal. The initiative was coordinated by Deputy United States Attorney Benjamin Barron and Deputy Chief Niall O’Donnell of the Healthcare Fraud Enforcement Unit.

The FBI Los Angeles field office, the 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 beyond a reasonable doubt by a court.

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