breaking news

AC/DC co-founder Malcolm Young dead at 64

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 his own sober homes, faces a maximum six years in prison when he is sentenced on April 24. His plea comes a day after body-builder and fitness model Stefan Gatt, 27, who worked at a medical lab in Boca Raton, pleaded guilty to the same charge. Dr. Donald Willems, who was a medical director at one of Chatman’s treatment centers, is scheduled to take a plea deal Friday, court records show.

Full coverage: Palm Beach County sober homes

The guilty pleas signal they are cooperating with authorities who have charged Chatman with crimes that could send him to prison for life. Chatman was indicted last month on 17 charges, including sex trafficking for allegedly forcing women who wanted help beating their addictions into prostitution. The indictment of seven people came after a Palm Beach Post investigation of Palm Beach County’s burgeoning sober house industry.

Unlike Gatt, Bonds was also indicted on two counts of money-laundering and a single count of conspiracy to commit money-laundering. In exchange for his plea to health care fraud, prosecutors agreed to drop the other charges, which each carry a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

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

Bonds, 45, admitted he accepted kickbacks from Chatman to send roughly 60 insured residents of his sober homes to Reflections Treatment Center in Margate and Journey to Recovery in Lake Worth. He was paid $500 to $525 per patient per week, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Marie Villafana.

He sent residents to the centers knowing that Chatman illegally licensed the treatment centers in his wife’s name because, as a convicted felon, he was barred from owning and operating them, she said.

RELATED: Despite losing grant, health district will help addicts with treatment

Further, Villafana said, Bonds knew residents of his sober homes were continuing to use drugs and alcohol. He gave them free rent and other incentives so they would go to the treatment centers Chatman owned. Chatman, in turn, billed scores of insurers for so-called treatment they received, Villafana said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Gardens gallery is showing pop art sought by celebrities [PHOTOS]
Gardens gallery is showing pop art sought by celebrities [PHOTOS]

A bright, blingy display of modern pop art fashionable with celebrities is on display at the Onessimo Fine Art Gallery this month. Paris Hilton, Gloria Estefan and Lil’ Kim have commissioned works from Kfir Moyal, a Miami-based artist who embellishes famous faces with Swarovski crystals, according to a news release.  Queen Elizabeth...
AC/DC co-founder Malcolm Young dead at 64
AC/DC co-founder Malcolm Young dead at 64

Rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, the co-founder of the rock ’n’ roll group AC/DC, died Saturday, Rolling Stone reported and the band announced on its website. He was 64. Young had been suffering from dementia for the past three years, which forced his retirement from the band that he founded with his brother Angus Young in 1973...
Texas residents find mail dumped near sewer drain
Texas residents find mail dumped near sewer drain

Residents in a Texas neighborhood are angry that their mail apparently has been going down the drain. Brenda Tisdale was walking her dogs in a southwest neighborhood in Mesquite when she noticed a few clean, white pieces of paper in a sewer drain, KTVT reported. “I was thinking, ‘that’s where all of our mail has gone,&rsquo...
Mugabe refuses to step down as Zimbabwe’s president
Mugabe refuses to step down as Zimbabwe’s president

Thousands of Zimbabwe residents marched in the streets of Harare on Saturday, demanding the resignation of President Robert Mugabe, CNN reported. The protests in the capital city occurred days after the 93-year-old president was put under house arrest by the army, which also detained some of his key political allies. Mugabe has been Zimbabwe&rsquo...
Happy birthday: Co-workers buy car for fellow employee 
Happy birthday: Co-workers buy car for fellow employee 

A Michigan man will never forget his 19th birthday, thanks to the generosity of his co-workers, WJRT reported. Noah Robinson had been riding his bicycle to work from Saginaw to Kochville Township, pedaling the 6 ½ miles in 45 minutes regardless of the weather conditions. He works in the shipping department at Glastender and lives with his...
More Stories