The month of May in South Florida's volatile addiction treatment and recovery support community marked the sentencing of one of the region's most notorious operators, and other developments signaled no near end to prosecutions in the area.
A federal judge this month sentenced Kenneth Chatman to more than 27 years in prison on charges that included health care fraud, money laundering and human trafficking. The former owner of Reflections Treatment Center and Journey to Recovery had been accused of offenses ranging from billing for fraudulent drug tests to forcing female patients into prostitution. The sentence from U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks was nearly twice the length recommended in a plea agreement that had been reached between federal prosecutors and Chatman's attorneys.
The Palm Beach Post reported that an assistant U.S. attorney called Chatman “the most dangerous” provider in the region, despite the fact that he ran relatively small operations compared with others in South Florida.
In the meantime, efforts to clean up abuses in Florida have cast a wider net. This month also marked the first time that owners of a drug testing company have been arrested under the state's patient brokering law. The owners of Impact Q Testing in Palm Beach County, who also operated Delray Beach-based Chapters Recovery, were arrested on charges that they bribed a sober home operator to send his residents to their lab for excessive and expensive drug tests. Prosecutors are increasingly targeting unethical lab operators as an important connection to the overall problems in the industry.