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.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

‘Black Panther’ raking in the dough, here’s the records the blockbuster has smashed
‘Black Panther’ raking in the dough, here’s the records the blockbuster has smashed

“Black Panther” has taken theaters by storm, breaking box office goals.  >> Read more trending news  Over the Presidents Day weekend, the Marvel flick made a whopping $242 million, much more than the $150 million predicted.  That wasn’t the only success the film saw. It also made history for Marvel,...
Expansion approved for Jupiter Medical Center 
Expansion approved for Jupiter Medical Center 

The town council approved the expansion of the Jupiter Medical Center Foshay Cancer Center on Tuesday night. The new 55,000-square-foot addition is planned to be called the Anderson Family Cancer Institute. The project near Military Trail and Jupiter Lakes Boulevard is part of a $123 expansion plan by JMC, the town’s largest...
UPDATE: Police investigate fatal shooting in Boynton Beach
UPDATE: Police investigate fatal shooting in Boynton Beach

Update, 10:30 p.m.: Police continued to speak with witnesses after a fatal shooting in Boynton Beach Tuesday night. Investigators have not released any information about the man who was killed or the circumstances around his death. Officers ask anyone with information to call police at 561-732-8116. Original Story: Boynton Beach police...
‘Beauty out of chaos:’ Parkland grieves together after mass shooting
‘Beauty out of chaos:’ Parkland grieves together after mass shooting

They came with their tears. They came with their prayers. They came with their anger and their protest signs. Just like they came after Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after the carnage at Virginia Tech University, they came Tuesday to the makeshift memorial along the chain-link fence in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, a quintessential...
West Boca students walk 12 miles to Douglas: ‘We had to do something’
West Boca students walk 12 miles to Douglas: ‘We had to do something’

For 17 minutes at West Boca Raton High School on Tuesday, the campus fell silent to honor 17 killed in a high school shooting 10 miles away. But within seconds, the halls were consumed by the roaring sound of students leaving in droves and chanting in support of fallen classmates. About 90 percent of West Boca High’s students walked out Tuesday...
More Stories