Chatman drops appeal in sex trafficking, drug treatment fraud case

8:37 p.m Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 Local
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Kenneth Chatman walks into Reflections, his treatment center in Margate. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Kenny Chatman, who trafficked women through his chain of corrupt sober homes and drug treatment centers, is no longer fighting his 27-year federal prison sentence.

In court documents filed this month, his lawyer dropped his appeal, meaning Chatman likely will serve out the entirety of his sentence. He’ll be 74 when he’s released.

Although Chatman forfeited the right to appeal his sentence when he pleaded guilty to conspiracies to commit money laundering, health care fraud and sex trafficking, it applied only if the judge stayed within the sentencing guidelines.

In Chatman’s case, the crimes called for a 15-year sentence.

But Judge Donald Middlebrooks had the final say. Since Chatman’s crimes were so horrific — including turning patients into prostitutes — Middlebrooks handed down a much stiffer sentence.

Chatman’s lawyers then said they planned to appeal it. In August, they were granted a 45-day extension to file their appeal. But on Oct. 5, lawyer Ronald Gainor told the court they were dropping it.

It’s unknown why Chatman dropped the appeal. Gainor did not respond to a request for comment.

Chatman, 47, is serving his sentence at the Coleman medium-security prison in Sumterville. He is scheduled to be released in 2044.

He was in many ways a symbol of South Florida’s largely corrupt drug treatment industry. He had no experience in drug treatment when he opened his first sober home in 2012. A year later, he opened Reflections Treatment Center, in central Broward County.

Although he became a multi-millionaire in just three years, he was not the biggest fish in the industry, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafaña said at his sentencing in May.

But he was “the most dangerous.”

She told the judge that Chatman was pimping out his female patients on “fetish sites.” He had sex with them and bragged that he could sleep with any of them for just $50.

When they got pregnant, he forced them to get abortions, she said.

His drug treatment centers were shams, where employees peed into cups for his patients because they were doing drugs. He hired corrupt doctors to sign off on drug tests that never happened, and he racked up millions in insurance reimbursements.

“The amount of suffering is unprecedented,” she said. “There is no one quite like Mr. Chatman.”

View full experience