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breaking news

PBSO probes Lake Worth fight involving ‘Cash me Ousside’ teen

Exclusives


Trump’s tough deportation stance worries Palm Beach County immigrants

After President Donald Trump took a tough new stance on deportations, West Palm Beach immigration activist Aileen Josephs thought back to the not-so-old days of mass round-ups. In 2014, after crime waves in El Salvador and Honduras sparked a mass flight to Florida, the Obama administration deported millions of immigrants who were here illegally. “We had ICE agents working with the West...

The last of the portrait painters

Ralph Wolfe Cowan's stories behind the brushstrokes
Special Presentation

Honoring a fallen father

Fatal crash at PBIA: 60 years later
Special Presentation

'I'm not a hero, I'm a survivor'

Flight attendant recalls Delta Flight 191
Special Presentation

Sober home invasion

Suburban neighbors say they're under siege
Special Presentation

100 years of The Palm Beach Post

The Palm Beach Post marks a milestone: 100 years as a morning daily newspaper
Special Presentation
BREAKING: Three sober home operators arrested in Delray Beach 

BREAKING: Three sober home operators arrested in Delray Beach 

Three sober home operators in Delray Beach surrendered on Sunday night on multiple charges of patient brokering. Adam Lahr, 25, Eric Lahr, 28, and John Dudek, 55, will appear in court this morning on charges of accepting kickbacks for enrolling insured residents of their sober homes in a treatment program called Chapters, formerly known as Good Future.  Adam and Eric Lahr are both operators of...
POINT OF VIEW Whose child has to die before somebody does something?

POINT OF VIEW Whose child has to die before somebody does something?

“Whose child has to die before somebody does something?” That was the question my former aide, Johnnie Easton, asked me shortly after I was elected. It was one of what would become many sleepless nights she had to call me to tell me she would be late because she was out searching the streets for her daughter, Tasha. In mid-November of 2016, she got the answer to that question. Hers. Since...
ANALYSIS: Trump nudges conservatism toward his brand of nationalism

ANALYSIS: Trump nudges conservatism toward his brand of nationalism

President Donald Trump has had a bumpy history with the conservative movement. The part-time Palm Beacher is a former Hillary Clinton donor who once said George W. Bush should have been impeached and whose variegated ideological past includes support for abortion rights, universal health care, an assault weapons ban and a massive “wealth tax.” Only a year ago, as Trump was emerging as...
Drug treatment CEO arrested on 93 counts of patient brokering

Drug treatment CEO arrested on 93 counts of patient brokering

The owner of a Delray Beach drug treatment center raided in December was arrested Thursday on 93 counts of patient brokering for allegedly paying kickbacks to sober home owners who enrolled insured addicts his treatment program. Daniel Kandler, 41, owner of Chapters Recovery - formerly known as Good Future Recovery - was arrested on Thursday morning by the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force...
Therapist: 90% of addicts in Chatman sober homes openly used drugs

Therapist: 90% of addicts in Chatman sober homes openly used drugs

As many as 90 percent of the addicts who were supposed to be getting treatment while living in sober homes connected to the notorious drug-treatment businesses operated by Kenneth Chatman were openly using drugs, enabling Chatman to continue billing their insurance for millions of dollars in unnecessary drug tests, according to the former clinical treatment director. New details of Chatman’s...
At least 60 people expected tonight at heroin strategy meeting

At least 60 people expected tonight at heroin strategy meeting

Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay said she is expecting at least 60 people tonight at an informal meeting with families affected by the opioid epidemic.
Drug-treatment operator Kenneth Chatman expected to plead guilty

Drug-treatment operator Kenneth Chatman expected to plead guilty

Kenneth Chatman, the accused operator of a notorious drug-treatment business who allegedly pimped out female addicts, is expected to plead guilty in a federal case that accuses him of money laundering, health care fraud and sex trafficking, recently filed court records show. The documents also reveal that investigators recorded more than 100 phone calls Chatman has made in jail since his arrest in...
EXCLUSIVE: Workers say contractor fired them after immigration protest

EXCLUSIVE: Workers say contractor fired them after immigration protest

On Thursday, 40 employees of a Boca Raton construction company skipped work to participate in a national “Day Without Immigrants” protest. When they returned to their Miami job site Friday, workers say, four were fired — although the employer said the terminations were unrelated to the protest. The other 36 decided to sit out another day to support the fired workers. READ ALSO: Trump...
State checks World War II sites at PBIA, Trump club for contamination

State checks World War II sites at PBIA, Trump club for contamination

When World War II ended, and the boys came home, the federal government turned most of its military sites to federal, local or private entities. But they also left in the ground gasoline and oil, lead and other chemicals, machinery, and even bullets and bombs. At the end of the 20th century, governments tested several of those sites, including an area in and around Palm Beach International Airport...
Heroin crisis: County commissioner “disappointed” by Governor’s lack of “urgency”

Heroin crisis: County commissioner “disappointed” by Governor’s lack of “urgency”

A week after asking Gov. Rick Scott to declare a public health emergency over the opioid crisis, Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay said Thursday she was “pretty disappointed” with the response she received from Scott’s office earlier this week.
Voters will head to the polls March 14 in 21 cities, towns

Voters will head to the polls March 14 in 21 cities, towns

Voters in 21 of Palm Beach County’s 39 cities and towns will head to the polls on March 14, while others will see their elected leaders return to office unopposed. As the qualifying period for most municipal elections ended Tuesday, no one filed paperwork to challenge 42 candidates, including 35 incumbents. That means 12 of the county’s cities and towns won’t hold elections next...

EXCLUSIVE: Who’s running for municipal office in Palm Beach County

Here are the municipal office candidates who qualified for the March 14 election in Palm Beach County. Those marked with an asterisk (*) have no opposition and are automatically elected. Incumbents are indicated with an (i). ATLANTIS City Council Group 2 Aaron Rinker (i)* City Council Group 4 Michael LaCoursiere (i)* BELLE GLADE City Commission Seat B Steve B. Wilson (i) Yousef Muslet BOCA RATON Mayor...
Exclusive: Related, Hilton eye second hotel at convention center

Exclusive: Related, Hilton eye second hotel at convention center

Hilton Hotels and the Related Cos. are so pleased with the success of their new Hilton West Palm Beach at the county convention center, the companies are talking about building another hotel at the site. The early talks center on building a boutique Hilton hotel, likely the luxury Curio Collection, next to the West Palm Beach Hilton at 600 Okeechobee Blvd. The 200-room boutique hotel would be...
FBI: Sober home owner offered deal: Prostitute yourself or steal

FBI: Sober home owner offered deal: Prostitute yourself or steal

The investigation into Kenny Chatman’s drug treatment empire began in September 2013, when two patients at a treatment center operated by him told West Palm Beach police that Chatman provided them with drugs and condoms and forced them into prostitution. Police told the FBI about the patients’ claims and as the investigation progressed over three years, more witnesses came forward with...
How a new rule could help Gardens keep tabs on sober homes

How a new rule could help Gardens keep tabs on sober homes

When a sober home isn’t helping their patients get better, there’s not much officials in Palm Beach Gardens or any other city can do. But that could soon change. Addiction is classified as a disability under federal law, so people who are in recovery are protected by the Fair Housing and Americans With Disabilities Acts. When a municipality’s regulations are challenged, the U.S....
EXCLUSIVE: Dr. Phil ‘Cash me outside’ viral star is from Boynton

EXCLUSIVE: Dr. Phil ‘Cash me outside’ viral star is from Boynton

If you haven’t heard about the “Cash me Outside” girl, you must have dial-up Internet and a Nokia. Seriously. Here’s what the world already knows: The current obsession with Danielle Bregoli, 13, started last year after she appeared on an episode of Dr. Phil (video below). Her unique, Cajun-street-thug persona and rowdy attitude inspired memes, bitmojis ...
Boca Raton treatment center owner charged with patient brokering

Boca Raton treatment center owner charged with patient brokering

UPDATE: A judge set bond on Thursday at $75,000 for James Tomasso, a drug treatment owner with two prior fraud convictions and 25 new charges of patient brokering. However, before Tomasso can post bail, he must prove at a court hearing Friday that money to be used to get out of jail did not come from illegal activities. Tomasso, 57, was arrested on Wednesday after the Palm Beach County Sober Home...
Lantana airport boss: Continued Trump visits could ‘kill this airport’

Lantana airport boss: Continued Trump visits could ‘kill this airport’

The total in estimated lost commerce from President Donald Trump’s first weekend visit to Palm Beach is up to nearly a quarter million dollars, according to a county report. Tops on the list: $217,000 in lost gross revenue by a “fixed base operator” at Palm Beach International Airport. On top of that, small plane traffic at PBIA dropped by 30 to 40 percent during the weekend because...
“Bizarre and unusual” judge says of PBSO claims in Seth Adams’ death

“Bizarre and unusual” judge says of PBSO claims in Seth Adams’ death

When Lydia Adams rushed to St. Mary’s Medical Center nearly five years ago after learning her son, Seth, had been shot by a Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy, she didn’t know he was dead. Seeing his bare, blood-covered body on a gurney, she ran to him. Instantly, she says, she was grabbed by a sheriff’s crime scene investigator and thrown to the floor. “Get away. He&rsquo...
Trump’s first visit cost us $30,000, Lantana airport firms say

Trump’s first visit cost us $30,000, Lantana airport firms say

The first visit by new President Donald Trump to Palm Beach County cost aviation-related businesses at Lantana Airport $30,000 this past weekend, a airport executive said. One flight school at the airport already has ended its lease and another school that’s the airport’s biggest tenant is thinking hard about it, Jonathan Miller, CEO of Stellar Aviation, said late Monday. Stellar Aviation...
2nd sober home owner linked to Chatman pleads guilty to health fraud

2nd sober home owner linked to Chatman pleads guilty to health fraud

The owner of Redemption sober homes in Delray Beach on Tuesday pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud for accepting $240,000 in kickbacks from Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman, who is accused in a wide-ranging scheme to use people in recovery to rip off insurance companies. Michael Bonds, who said he completed a 28-day drug and alcohol treatment program in 2006 before opening...
Frankel double-play: Marches against Donald Trump, then attends ball

Frankel double-play: Marches against Donald Trump, then attends ball

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, pulled off an unusual political double-play Saturday. She spent an hour marching with anti-Trump protesters in downtown West Palm Beach, then crossed the Intracoastal Waterway to Palm Beach, where she mingled with Trump at the annual Red Cross Charity ball at Mar-a-Lago. “It was very interesting going over to the Red Cross...
Body-builder pleads guilty to role in massive sober house scheme

Body-builder pleads guilty to role in massive sober house scheme

A model and body-builder who worked as a salesman for a Boca Raton medical laboratory pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiracy to commit health-care fraud in connection with what federal prosecutors claim was a far-reaching scheme to use people in recovery to bilk insurance companies out of millions. Stefan Gatt’s plea indicates that those who worked with Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman, who...
Trump’s first 100 tweets as president come in first 17 days — an analysis

Trump’s first 100 tweets as president come in first 17 days — an analysis

As president-elect, Donald Trump said he’d be “very restrained” in his use of Twitter once he took the oath of office. But 100 tweets into the Trump presidency, the @realDonaldTrump Twitter feed remains a freewheeling electronic space where the new commander in chief pushes back at the media, tosses bouquets and brickbats, makes 140-character policy arguments, warns leaders...
Live via video feed: Doctors treating addicts

Live via video feed: Doctors treating addicts

The next big thing in drug treatment: Telemedicine. Among the topics that kicked off the annual meeting of the Addiction Industry Executive Summit in Naples last week was using the internet to remotely treat recovering addicts. Telemedicine allows doctors and therapists to communicate with patients via live video — similar to Skype or Facetime. According to the American Medical Association,...
Golf club members who fought Trump and won: Lawsuit a wild ride

Golf club members who fought Trump and won: Lawsuit a wild ride

Norman Hirsch, a self-described “nerd” who grew up in South Florida, and Matthew Dwyer, a Boston real estate investor, insist they’re not the kind of people who impulsively head to court as a way to punish people for petty slights. But, they said, actions that now President Donald Trump took when he bought a financially troubled country club on Donald Ross Road and turned it into...
2,000 expected for modified Trump protest march in West Palm

2,000 expected for modified Trump protest march in West Palm

The March to Mar-a-Lago is no longer a march to Mar-a-Lago. It’s still a protest march scheduled for Saturday in West Palm Beach, but it’s half a mile shorter and may not offer the most ideal view of President Trump’s winter White House. That’s the result of a flurry of changes Thursday when two activist groups pledged to move forward with the march after the original organizer...
Bodybuilder pleads not guilty in fraud scheme tied to drug treatment

Bodybuilder pleads not guilty in fraud scheme tied to drug treatment

Stefan Gatt, accused of participating in a drug treatment fraud scheme orchestrated by Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman, pleaded not guilty today in federal court. Federal prosecutors said last week that Gatt, a 27-year-old bodybuilder charged with a single count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, collected urine and saliva samples from Chatman’s two drug treatment centers, Journey...
Bills urge help for addicts in ERs and prompt RX drug reporting

Bills urge help for addicts in ERs and prompt RX drug reporting

Pharmacists and doctors who participate in the state’s prescription drug monitoring program would be required to report every prescription they fill for opiates and other controlled substances within 24 hours under a bill introduced on Friday. HB 557 was filed by Rep. Nicholas Duran, D-Miami. There is no companion bill in the Senate.  Currently, pharmacists and doctors who participate...

POINT OF VIEW: We need community-based solutions to fight drug abuse

If you think drug misuse and abuse doesn’t affect the business community, think again. From 2000 to 2010 there was a dramatic increase in opioid addiction statewide, with Broward County having the highest number of consequences. Unfortunately, the problem still persists today with 401 hospital admissions for opioid overdoses in Broward County during 2013, the most current reporting year. Among...
Treatment center operator Kenny Chatman indicted, pleads not guilty

Treatment center operator Kenny Chatman indicted, pleads not guilty

Addiction treatment center operator Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman on Thursday pleaded not guilty to a sweeping 17-count indictment that accuses him of money laundering, health care fraud and sex trafficking, charges that could send him to prison for life. The indictment, handed up Tuesday, showcases federal prosecutors plans to shut down what they called the 46-year-old suburban Boynton Beach...

State preparing to battle opioid crisis

One after another, politicians, policy makers, police and scientists stepped up to a podium during a news conference in Tallahassee on Wednesday and tried to find words to reflect the dire state of Florida’s opioid crisis. “This is truly, after 33 years of tracking drug trends in the state of Florida, the most rapidly rising and critical crisis in our lifetime and in the history of Florida...
Despite pill mill arrest, doctor free to get into drug rehab business

Despite pill mill arrest, doctor free to get into drug rehab business

When investigators with the Florida Department of Health and Broward County Sheriff’s Office descended on a Pompano Beach pain clinic in 2012 to search for evidence of crime, Dr. Donald Willems was ready to talk. The osteopathic physician admitted to signing blank prescriptions for powerful painkillers such as oxycodone. He admitted to letting a clinic manager fill them out, for patients he...
EXCLUSIVE: Ice rink banned skater for Iraqi heritage, suit says

EXCLUSIVE: Ice rink banned skater for Iraqi heritage, suit says

The Olympic dream of a Broward County ice skater has turned into an ugly dispute that has spawned a discrimination and defamation lawsuit against the West Palm Beach skating rink where she once practiced. Angela Aldahwi, a dual citizen of both the United States and Iraq, has filed suit against Palm Beach Ice Works in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, alleging that her daughter, Hyaat Aldahwi, was barred...
Despite losing grant, health district will help addicts with treatment

Despite losing grant, health district will help addicts with treatment

A month after learning it would not receive an $8.2 million grant to provide drug treatment to wean addicts off heroin, the Palm Beach County Health Care District is quickly moving forward with a scaled down version of its original plan. The taxpayer-financed district, which provides health care to the poor and uninsured, hopes to have the pilot project in place by the end of February. Efforts...
U.S. marshals seize PBSO deputy’s property to pay shooting victim

U.S. marshals seize PBSO deputy’s property to pay shooting victim

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Sgt. Adams Lin watched helplessly on Saturday as federal marshals seized his personal belongings — including his car, clothes, television and furniture — to help pay the expenses of a 23-year-old West Palm Beach man he shot, paralyzing him for life. Attorney Jack Scarola, who won a $22.4 million jury verdict for Stephens last year, said he got...
Woman charged in sober home crackdown takes deal, avoids prison

Woman charged in sober home crackdown takes deal, avoids prison

The only woman — and youngest — of 11 people charged with patient brokering at a Boynton Beach treatment center pleaded guilty to the charges on Monday, the first case disposed of since the Sober Home Task Force began making arrests in October. Amanda LaFrance, 25, pleaded guilty to four counts of patient brokering, all felonies, and one count of attempted patient brokering, a misdemeanor...
Airport shooting: Minn. mom: ‘We flew with the shooter’

Airport shooting: Minn. mom: ‘We flew with the shooter’

Page Laska and her family were among many who spent three hours and 12 minutes on a crowded flight from Minneapolis to Fort Lauderdale on Friday morning — and it was nothing out of the ordinary. Laska disembarked, quickly grabbed her bags from the Delta terminal and hopped on a shuttle headed for a nearby hotel with her 8-year-old son Garrett. Her husband, Dennis Anco, and 11-year-old son Benjamin...
Heroin task force launches 2 initiatives, contemplates needle exchange

Heroin task force launches 2 initiatives, contemplates needle exchange

After a seemingly late and slow start over the summer, efforts of the Palm Beach County Heroin Task Force are gaining traction and support — with two major initiatives poised to launch this month. At a task force meeting on Thursday, task force leaders said a pilot program aimed at providing immediate detox and treatment for addicts who have overdosed and are taken to a hospital emergency...
BREAKING: 11th arrest made in local sober home crackdown

BREAKING: 11th arrest made in local sober home crackdown

The operator of a sober home in Boynton Beach was arrested on Wednesday and charged with patient brokering — the 11th arrest made by the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force since October. Leonard Reginald Dobard, 49, owner of House of Chance at 309 SE 36th Ave. in Boynton Beach, accepted 10 checks totalling $3,102 from Whole Life Recovery for enrolling residents living in his sober home...

Free rent to lure sober home customers faces crackdown

One of Palm Beach County’s top prosecutors on Tuesday issued a stark statement to South Florida’s lucrative drug and alcohol treatment community: The way you’ve been operating is illegal. For years, the county’s billion-dollar industry has treated addicts as if they were mules lured by a farmer’s carrots, with owners of sober homes and treatment centers enticing them...
Palm Beach County wants state help with homelessness, opioid epidemic

Palm Beach County wants state help with homelessness, opioid epidemic

Santa Claus has come and gone, but Palm Beach County officials made a list, checked it twice and are hoping the state government will determine its priorities aren’t naughty but nice. Certainly, those priorities and wish list items aren’t cheap: Commissioners and legislators from the county met at the Palm Beach County Convention Center Wednesday to go over the fine points of a $47 million...
Lawmakers cite Post’s investigation as motive for change

Lawmakers cite Post’s investigation as motive for change

Local lawmakers agreed on Wednesday to cross the aisle and work together on passing legislation to address the opioid crisis and corruption in sober homes. During a brief presentation at a meeting of the Palm Beach County Commission and its Legislative Delegation, Democratic Senator Jeff Clemens of Lake Worth urged his colleagues to support a bill soon to be proposed by Republican Rep. Bill Hager...
Boynton continues temporary ban on new sober homes

Boynton continues temporary ban on new sober homes

Boynton Beach is continuing its six-month ban on new group homes including sober homes, and on Tuesday gave residents a chance to speak out against the move. But no one did. The city commissioners first approved the moratorium Dec. 6. The city’s staff requested the halt to have time to review the updated guidelines pertaining to group homes released Nov. 10 by the federal departments of Justice...
Post’s sober home, heroin coverage kickstarts official action

Post’s sober home, heroin coverage kickstarts official action

In 2016, officials took the first steps to clean up the fraud-ridden addiction treatment industry and curb the alarming rise of lives cut short by heroin-related overdoses. Every level of government — local, state and federal — acted after The Palm Beach Post’s 18 months of exclusive reporting on the addiction treatment industry and its special report Nov. 20 report, Heroin...
From Donald Trump to Dalia Dippolito: Palm Beach County’s top stories

From Donald Trump to Dalia Dippolito: Palm Beach County’s top stories

The next president of the United States has a place right here. And that’s just part of a wild news year in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. Here are the area’s top 10 stories, as determined, and chronicled, by Post editors and reporters, with help from statistics on how popular news stories were with readers. 1. President Trump: It’s one of the most shocking upsets in U...
Suspect in drug treatment fraud released on house arrest

Suspect in drug treatment fraud released on house arrest

One of the six people arrested as part of an alleged drug treatment fraud scheme reportedly orchestrated by Kenny Chatman was allowed to be released on bond on Thursday. Fransesia “Francine” Davis, 44, will be confined to house arrest after her father and aunt posted her $250,000 bond. She will live with her aunt and won’t be allowed to leave the house except to go to court, meet...
Evidence of sex slavery cited to keep treatment center owner jailed

Evidence of sex slavery cited to keep treatment center owner jailed

After one woman went to police about notorious drug treatment center owner Kenny Chatman, she said his employees took her away in a van and gave her a choice: sign something recanting her statement, or be killed. Investigators last week found evidence backing up her claim. In Chatman’s office safe was her signed statement, witnessed by a notary, according to a Tuesday court filing signed...
Patient-brokering charges against treatment center CEO ramped up to 95

Patient-brokering charges against treatment center CEO ramped up to 95

Already arrested on a handful of patient brokering charges in October, addiction treatment center executive James Kigar is now facing a total of 95 separate criminal counts linked to cashing in on recovering addicts. The spate of extra patient-brokering allegations were filed Dec. 20, according to court records, less than a week after a ninth arrest was made in connection with what prosecutors...
Rubio cites Post coverage, asks feds to review grand jury report

Rubio cites Post coverage, asks feds to review grand jury report

Local prosecutors hoped that state regulators would consider a Palm Beach County grand jury’s recommendations on fixing the crime-plagued sober home industry. Now, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, wants the federal government to see whether the grand jury report should change laws across the country. Citing the wake-up call delivered by The Palm Beach Post’s “Heroin: Killer of a...

POINT OF VIEW Grand jury’s sober home report lacks balance

The Palm Beach Post’s Dec. 13 story, “Sober home report cites patient abuse,” accepted without question the grand jury’s “Report on the Proliferation of Fraud and Abuse in Florida’s Addiction Treatment Industry.” I believe grand juries can and do perform important functions, but they need to be “fair and balanced”. The report correctly concludes...
State vows to step up in wake of treatment center owner’s arrest

State vows to step up in wake of treatment center owner’s arrest

When felon Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman crossed the border from Mexico in November, he told U.S. Customs agents he was the owner and operator of Reflections Treatment Center and that his wife, Laura, was a “stay-at-home mom,” according to court documents.  This would be news to the state’s Department of Children and Families, which issued a license to Laura Chatman...
Rubio: Feds should consider Palm Beach County sober home fixes

Rubio: Feds should consider Palm Beach County sober home fixes

Federal officials raid a sober home at 1501 N. Federal Hwy., Lake Worth, on Dec. 21, 2016. Officials charged owner Kenny Chatman and five others with health-care fraud in an ongoing crackdown on sober homes in Palm Beach County.
Feds look to charge sober home operator with overdose deaths

Feds look to charge sober home operator with overdose deaths

A suburban Boynton Beach man who built a phony drug treatment empire despite having a felony record and just an 11th-grade education may soon face possible life sentences for overdose deaths that occurred at sober homes he operated throughout Palm Beach County, a federal prosecutor said Thursday. A day after Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman, the subject of an investigaton by The Palm Beach Post...
UPDATE: Subject of Post investigation arrested in sober home fraud

UPDATE: Subject of Post investigation arrested in sober home fraud

A drug treatment center operator exposed by The Palm Beach Post for his ties to prostitution was among six people arrested and charged Wednesday in a wide-ranging health-care fraud scheme that reveals the sordid underbelly of the drug treatment industry. Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman, 46, and his wife, Laura, 44, were among six people named in a federal complaint alleging a variety of insurance...
Subject of Post investigation arrested in sober home fraud

Subject of Post investigation arrested in sober home fraud

A sober home operator linked to prostitution and fraud is among six people arrested and charged Wednesday in a wide-ranging health-care fraud scheme that details the sordid underbelly of the drug treatment industry as exposed in stories by The Palm Beach Post over the past year. Kenny Chatman, 46, of Boynton Beach is one of six people named in a federal complaint alleging a scheme to file fraudulent...
Delray to Boynton: Your moratorium on sober homes is ‘unconstitutional’

Delray to Boynton: Your moratorium on sober homes is ‘unconstitutional’

Delray Beach and Boynton Beach differ on their attempts to regulate group homes that include sober homes, causing some tension between the neighboring cities in southern Palm Beach County. Earlier this month, Boynton issued a six-month moratorium on group homes, saying staff needs time to understand and evaluate recently updated federal guidelines. On Monday, Delray Beach’s mayor called the...
How to curtail sober home abuses? Task force proposes getting tough

How to curtail sober home abuses? Task force proposes getting tough

Palm Beach County’s Sober Home Task Force unveiled its recommendations to the Legislature on Monday, focusing on giving state officials and law enforcement greater powers to police the fraud-ridden drug treatment industry. Under the proposals , the Department of Children and Family Services would be allowed to oversee some sober homes, so-called “marketers” in...
Cost of heroin epidemic tops $1 billion a year in Florida

Cost of heroin epidemic tops $1 billion a year in Florida

There is a hard-dollar cost attached to the heroin epidemic now burning through Florida: more than $1.1 billion a year in hospital charges as of October 2015, $4.1 million a day — and rising. No west coast beach side community is too upscale, no Florida Panhandle town too small for a nearby hospital to be free from the financial fallout, a Palm Beach Post analysis of statewide hospital data...
Help with heroin crisis? State says ‘No’ to $10 million grant

Help with heroin crisis? State says ‘No’ to $10 million grant

As heroin’s deadly grip tightens on Palm Beach County, the Health Care District reached out its hand to the state to assist in the growing crisis. It came back empty. The Department of Children and Families denied the Health Care District of Palm Beach County’s request for a $10 million grant to launch a new program to herd addicts into treatment when they land in hospital emergency...
Lawmakers target heroin epidemic with two bills

Lawmakers target heroin epidemic with two bills

Two Florida lawmakers have responded to the opioid epidemic with bills that would increase sentences for selling fentanyl and require hospitals to provide additional care for overdose victims. The bills are the first introduced in the Florida Legislature’s 2017 addressing the opioid epidemic. The session begins on March 7. HB 61, filed by Rep. Larry Lee, D-Port St. Lucie, requires hospitals...
Price of heroin overdose antidote Narcan rises as much as 500 percent

Price of heroin overdose antidote Narcan rises as much as 500 percent

The price of Narcan — the lifesaving heroin-overdose antidote — has skyrocketed, with one formulation rising more than 500 percent in two years, an article in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine reported. Although Narcan first hit the market in 1971, demand has skyrocketed as the nationwide heroin epidemic worsens. And with more potent opioids on the street, the largest consumers...
Lake Worth sober home owner charged with patient brokering

Lake Worth sober home owner charged with patient brokering

The owner of a Lake Worth sober home was arrested in Broward County today on charges on patient brokering for allegedly accepting payments from a treatment center for each addict he enrolled in the center’s programs. Alex Vandervert, owner of Saje House, received $3,335 from Whole Life Recovery for providing case management services to four residents living at Saje House, according...
Heroin epidemic: $25,000 donation to help county buy overdose antidote naloxone

Heroin epidemic: $25,000 donation to help county buy overdose antidote naloxone

A private Lake Worth drug treatment center today donated $25,000 to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue to buy Narcan, a brand name for the expensive overdose antidote naloxone.

POINT OF VIEW End the stigma of addiction and treatment

Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding addiction and addiction treatment stops too many of the 24 million Americans who struggle with drugs or alcohol from getting the help they need. In fact, only 2 million seek treatment. We want to change that. That is why we recently launched the “We Do Recover” movement with the goal of saving lives by ending the stigma. We are doing this in several...
Grand jury proposes sweeping sober home industry reforms

Grand jury proposes sweeping sober home industry reforms

A three-month grand jury investigation into corruption in the drug treatment industry — believed to be the first in the country — uncovered evidence of sexual abuse, human trafficking and forced labor in addition to patient brokering and insurance fraud. The 37-page report proposes 15 sweeping proposals to change laws and increase criminal penalties for the exploitation of addicts seeking...
$400,000 allegedly missing in case of professional guardian Savitt

$400,000 allegedly missing in case of professional guardian Savitt

At least $400,000 is missing from the life savings of an incapacitated senior assigned to professional guardian Elizabeth Savitt — wife of Circuit Judge Martin Colin, the senior’s former lawyers claim in court documents. Savitt received the guardianship appointment just a few months before she paid off a $308,000 foreclosure judgment on a Delray Beach home, days ahead of...
Frankel lends an ear to locals on opioid epidemic: ‘It’s overwhelming’

Frankel lends an ear to locals on opioid epidemic: ‘It’s overwhelming’

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel wanted to hear about the region’s opioid epidemic so she hosted a community forum in Delray Beach on Friday. She got an earful of bad news. “It’s overwhelming,” Frankel said, shaking her head. “I don’t think most people understand this.” In Delray Beach, the heroin epidemic has gotten so bad that the chiefs of police and fire rescue...
Drug companies profit on reviving dying heroin addicts

Drug companies profit on reviving dying heroin addicts

The price of Narcan – the lifesaving heroin-overdose antidote that revives the dying – has skyrocketed, with one formulation rising more than 500 percent in two years, according to an article published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Delray treatment center raided by Sober Home Task Force

Delray treatment center raided by Sober Home Task Force

The Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force raided a Delray Beach treatment center on Tuesday and left with boxes sealed with evidence tape. The three-hour long raid at Chapters Recovery, formerly known as Good Future Recovery, yielded no arrests. The treatment center, located at 2230 W. Atlantic Ave., provides intensive outpatient treatment and partial hospitalization programs for addicts in early...
Patient brokering arrests: Woman, 25, youngest to be charged

Patient brokering arrests: Woman, 25, youngest to be charged

Amanda LaFrance came to Florida three years ago to get clean and sober and found herself in court Saturday facing 13 counts of patient brokering — the latest arrest by a task force tasked by the state legislature to investigate corruption in the sober-home industry. LaFrance, 25, is the only woman and the youngest of eight sober-home and treatment-center owners and operators facing multiple...
First woman arrested in sober home crackdown

First woman arrested in sober home crackdown

BREAKING: Amanda LaFrance, 25, came to Florida three years ago to get clean and found herself in court on Saturday facing 13 counts of brokering other addicts with insurance to Whole Life Recovery, a treatment center in Boynton Beach whose owner and operator faces charges of paying kickbacks for clients.
County commissioner wants to hear about those who died from overdoses

County commissioner wants to hear about those who died from overdoses

In her crusade for reforms to help curb the opioid crisis, Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay is seeking help from families on the front lines of the epidemic. McKinlay wants parents, siblings and friends who have lost loved ones to accidental heroin-related overdoses to share their personal stories with her in an email. She also wants to host a meeting early next year with families affected...
Task force urges action to stem heroin epidemic, save lives

Task force urges action to stem heroin epidemic, save lives

After more than seven months of work, the Palm Beach County Heroin Task Force is planning to unveil in January a multi-pronged “action plan” aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic. And task force members hope a recent Palm Beach Post expose about the epidemic’s toll in Palm Beach County will help prompt county and state lawmakers to provide money for many of the plan’s programs...
Aronberg wants more money to continue heroin fight

Aronberg wants more money to continue heroin fight

Holding up the recent Palm Beach Post front page showing 216 people who died from heroin-related overdoses, State Attorney Dave Aronberg warned lawmakers Tuesday of the epidemic’s continuing toll. To continue his fight, he urged the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation to renew the flow of state money to a three-pronged task force his office is running. If the $275,000 he received this year...
Aronberg warns of homeless crisis after sober home crackdown

Aronberg warns of homeless crisis after sober home crackdown

At a meeting of the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation on Tuesday, State Attorney Dave Aronberg explained how he has spent the $275,000 lawmakers gave him to probe corruption in the drug treatment industry but warned that if the funding is not renewed, proactive efforts to combat corruption will likely end. “Our criminal investigations will continue beyond the appropriation,” Aronberg...