You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

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

NEW: ‘I hit hard,’ man says after beating in Lake Worth parking lot
NEW: ‘I hit hard,’ man says after beating in Lake Worth parking lot

When asked why the man he’d been on top of early Monday in a Lake Worth parking lot had severe head trauma, Darius McDuffy responded, “I hit hard.” Shortly after 6 a.m. a Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy was walking into a convenience store on North Federal Highway, north of Lucerne Avenue, and noticed McDuffy, 33, straddling...
UPDATE: Teen accused in drug-fueled home invasion rejects plea deal
UPDATE: Teen accused in drug-fueled home invasion rejects plea deal

A Martin County man accused of attacking a family during a drug-fueled home invasion last summer rejected a plea agreement during an appearance in court Tuesday. Nico Gallo, 19, refused to accept the state’s offer of five years in prison and 10 years probation, Martin County court records confirm. Anything-goes culture surrounds dangerous bath...
LATEST: Two toddlers found alone in street; Wellington woman jailed
LATEST: Two toddlers found alone in street; Wellington woman jailed

Someone spotted two toddlers last week walking in the middle of a street. A third child, only 8 months old, was left alone in the home the tots had walked out of. The 18-month-old and 3-year-old also were alone, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office records state. It is unclear where the children were found, but sheriff’s office records indicate...
JUST IN: Teen accused of abusing 84-year-old Alzheimer’s patient
JUST IN: Teen accused of abusing 84-year-old Alzheimer’s patient

A 19-year-old man was arrested last week after the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said a video shows him abusing an 84-year-old woman who has Alzheimer’s disease. Mark Fahmy faces charges of aggravated battery on someone older than age 65 and resisting an officer with violence. He was released from the county jail on $6,000 bail Sunday...
LATEST: Boca driver doing train track ‘jumps’ charged in serious crash
LATEST: Boca driver doing train track ‘jumps’ charged in serious crash

A Boca Raton man is facing a charge of reckless driving causing serious bodily injury after crashing into a tree while “jumping” railroad tracks at speeds beyond 65 mph, according to an arrest report. Jacob Feinberg, 19, was released from the Palm Beach County Jail on Monday after posting a $3,000 bond. The crash took place Dec. 4...
More Stories