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 prosecutors say masterminded the illicit operation, are lining up against him.

On Tuesday, an employee of Chatman’s sober houses and treatment centers, Michael Bonds, also is scheduled to take a plea deal, according to court documents. In addition to conspiracy to commit health-care fraud, Bonds is charged with two counts of money-laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit money-laundering, charges that each carry a possible 20-year prison term.

Gatt, 27, who lives in Broward County, faces a maximum six-year prison sentence when he appears back in court on April 24. While the charge carries a possible 10-year term, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Marie Villafana told U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks that prosecutors agreed Gatt should face a less severe punishment for cooperating with authorities. Edward Salantrie, who represents Gatt, said he would ask that his client receive less than six years for his role in the $3.8 million scam.

Gatt, wearing a business suit and glasses, told Middlebrooks he attended college for two years and occasionally takes Adderall, an amphetamine often used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Released shortly after his arrest in January on a $100,000 bond, he answered the judge’s questions with a simple, “Yes, sir” or “No, sir.”

Gatt met Chatman while working for American Clinical Solutions, a lab based near Tampa that has offices throughout the state, Villafana said. Egged on by Chatman, Gatt agreed to pay kickbacks so the laboratory would be allowed to test hundreds of phony saliva samples that insurers were told were from patients at two treatment centers Chatman owned, she said. Gatt admitted he knew that the samples were bogus.

Some came from employees of Reflections Treatment Center in Margate and Journey to Recovery in Lake Worth, she said. Gatt himself submitted his own saliva for testing, she said. As a convicted felon, Chatman, 45, of suburban Boynton Beach, was barred from owning treatment centers, so put them in his wife’s name, Villafana said.

Gatt also knew that other labs, who also agreed to pay Chatman kickbacks, were already testing urine samples from the same people. By billing insurance companies to also test their saliva, he knew he was asking them to pay for duplicative tests. He also sent insurers bills for unnecessary allergy and DNA tests, Villafana said.

Insurers were billed roughly $14 million and paid America Clinical Solutions $3.8 million to test the bogus samples, she said. Gatt, in turn, received salary increases and “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in bonuses, she said. Using the money he amassed from his illegal acts, he invested $50,000 in the treatment center in Lake Worth, Villafana said.

Salantrie said he wasn’t sure exactly how Chatman met Gatt, who moved from the lab’s main office near Tampa to one in Boca Raton. Working as a salesman, Gatt may have simply been making cold calls to his treatment centers, he said. But, Villafana said, Chatman made it clear that if Gatt didn’t pay kickbacks he would take his lucrative phony testing business elsewhere.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Trump intends to release classified documents about JFK assassination
Trump intends to release classified documents about JFK assassination

In a tweet Saturday morning, President Donald Trump said he will allow classified government documents about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to be released, “subject to the receipt of further information.” Trump is facing an Oct. 26 deadline mandated by Congress for the public release of the secret documents, which include...
New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia marks 40th year
New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia marks 40th year

The New River Gorge Bridge is celebrating its 40th anniversary Saturday, and this year’s Bridge Day will be a banner event for the West Virginia span. The bridge officially opened on Oct. 22, 1977. It is 876 feet from the span to the surface of the New River Gorge, “They invited all of West Virginia to come and see this new amazing...
Father’s dying wish fulfilled as his 7 daughters stage wedding ceremony
Father’s dying wish fulfilled as his 7 daughters stage wedding ceremony

Seven brides for one dying father. An Ohio man was granted his final wish shortly before he died from brain cancer, as he got to give away his seven daughters in a bridal ceremony. William L. “Willie” Shelton died on Oct. 16 at the age of 44. Only one of his daughters is married, but all seven of them decided to create a ceremony so...
UPDATE: Man killed in West Palm Beach shootings, 3 injured
UPDATE: Man killed in West Palm Beach shootings, 3 injured

One man died and three others were injured after two separate shootings took place in West Palm Beach on Friday night. West Palm Beach police have identified the deceased victim as 24-year-old Marquell Larrice Green. At 8:45 p.m., officers responded to a neighborhood near North Sapodilla Avenue and Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and found Green dead at...
Indictment of FBI informant complicates West Palm terrorism case
Indictment of FBI informant complicates West Palm terrorism case

Attorney Donnie Murrell was driving to the federal courthouse in Fort Pierce in June when his cell phone rang and he was asked to head back to West Palm Beach to represent a Palm Beach County man charged with wire fraud. He had no idea what he was about to get into. This week, four months after he agreed to represent career con artist Mohammed Agbareia...
More Stories