Addiction treatment center raided; husband and wife arrested


A husband and wife who operate a drug treatment center and sober homes were arrested on Thursday and charged with depositing checks payable to a doctor who did not work for them into their companies’ accounts.

James Durkin, 37, was charged with 13 counts of forgery. His wife, Jaclyn Sue Durkin, 29, of Boca Raton, was charged with two counts of forgery.

Although the checks were made out to a doctor who did not work for them, the back of the checks were stamped with “FOR DEPOSIT ONLY” to Hope Center for Rehabilitation LLC” or for deposit to another company James Durkin controls, Relapse Prevention LLC. According to the arrest report, James Durkin, who founded both companies in 2013 and 2014, endorsed some of the checks.

The checks, payments from insurance companies to a doctor for treatment of recovering addicts, totaled $37,500.

His wife is not a corporate officer in either company. However, bank security video shows her depositing two checks into the companies’ accounts, the report states.

Investigators raided two sober homes, not identified in police reports, and the office of Hope Center for Rehabilitation at 2828 S. Seacrest Blvd. James Durkin was led out of the offices in handcuffs.

An employee who asked not to be named, was shocked by his boss’s arrest. Durkin is a “good Christian family man” who “bent over backwards” for the addicts enrolled in his treatment program, the employee said.

“I don’t trust many people in this industry but I trust him,” the employee said. “If there was one place I would have bet on it was this place.”

Of the 14 arrests made by the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force since October, all but the Durkins have been charged with patient brokering.

A two-year-long investigation by the Palm Beach Post found that testing the urine of recovering addicts is so lucrative that treatment centers pay sober homes for patients, a practice the state attorney’s office says violates Florida’s patient brokering law.

The Durkins’ cases are also the among the oldest. The alleged forgeries occurred in 2014 — which answers the question some drug treatment operators have been asking: How far back will the Sober Home Task Force go in rooting out fraud?

The Durkins’ arrests come amid the busiest week for state and federal task forces investigating corruption in South Florida’s drug treatment industry.

In federal court on Monday, Stefan Gatt pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Gatt’s was the first of seven arrested and charged with a scheme to defraud insurance companies operated by Kenneth Chatman to plead guilty.

On Tuesday, Michael Bonds, another member of Chatman’s treatment empire, also pleaded guilty to the same charge. Both face up to five years in prison.

On Wednesday, the task force arrested James Tomasso on 25 charges of patient brokering. According to the arrest report, Tomasso, who has two prior felony fraud convictions, paid more than $68,000 to a sober home operator for clients.

Today, Dr. Donald Willems, a medical director at Chatman’s treatment centers, is scheduled to take a plea deal.

What The Post Found

For two years, Palm Beach Post investigative reporters have exposed questionable practices in the lucrative addiction treatment industry in Palm Beach County. The arrests Thursday brought the total since October to 21. Read our investigation at myPalmBeachP0ost.com/soberhomes



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Thinking of cheating? These FAU students sell tools to stop it
Thinking of cheating? These FAU students sell tools to stop it

A pair of Florida Atlantic University business school grads who once bemoaned the ease of cheating on online tests have jumped into the increasingly competitive world of high-tech proctoring with a twist, a patent and a mentor with big credentials in the electronics of education. Their first clients (though not their only ones): FAU business professors...
Ohio thief caught after leaving wallet at scene of crime
Ohio thief caught after leaving wallet at scene of crime

A thief in Ohio unwittingly turned himself in after leaving his wallet behind after leaving a Dayton store. Police said they were dispatched to Dollar General in Dayton around 8 a.m. Saturday, and found a wallet left behind by one of the suspects. Police found several items with the suspect’s name on them, including a photo ID.  The...
A-ha's stripped down version of ‘Take On Me’ is hauntingly beautiful
A-ha's stripped down version of ‘Take On Me’ is hauntingly beautiful

“Take On Me” by A-ha is one of the 1980s’ most remembered songs, not only for its fast-paced beat but also because of that iconic video, which featured a pencil-sketch animation theme (called rotoscoping) and live action featuring lead singer Morten Harket and his then-girlfriend, actress Bunty Bailey. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard...
5 former presidents appear at hurricane relief concert
5 former presidents appear at hurricane relief concert

All five living former Presidents appeared together for the first time since 2013 on Saturday, as they appeared at a benefit concert in Texas to raise money for hurricane relief efforts, CNN reported. Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama attended “Deep From the Heart: The One America Appeal&rdquo...
Air Force may recall up to 1,000 retired pilots
Air Force may recall up to 1,000 retired pilots

The U.S. Air Force may recall as many as 1,000 retired military pilots to active duty because of an executive order signed Friday by President Donald Trump,  ABC News reported. By law, only 25 retired pilots can be recalled through voluntary programs to serve in any one branch of military service, but Trump’s executive order removes...
More Stories