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breaking news

PBSO probes Lake Worth fight involving ‘Cash me Ousside’ teen

FBI raids two halfway houses in Delray Beach


FBI, U.S. Postal Service and state fraud investigators raided the headquarters of Real Life Recovery of Delray Beach and Halfway There sober residences on Thursday morning.

The raid was the second in three months by federal and state investigators of a large drug and alcohol recovery residence. In September, agents raided Good Decisions Sober Living, which is based at the 84-unit Green Terrace condominium complex in West Palm Beach.

Residents there were forced to move out several weeks after the raid. Agents did not shut down Halfway There on Wednesday. John Lehman, president of the Florida Association of Recovery Residences, a non-profit certification organization, notified its members on Wednesday about the raid and the possibility that more than 100 recovering addicts and alcoholics may need housing.

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“We sent out an email telling them this is going down and what you can do is be prepared to handle an influx of people,” Lehman said. Lehman said both Good Decisions and Halfway There applied for certification from FARR and were rejected. “We’ve made everyone aware that there is a need to be filled.”

Real Life Recovery of Delray Beach and Halfway There were founded by Eric Snyder, who also lists himself the CEO on his Linkedin page.

According to its web site, Halfway There is the only pet-friendly sober living community in Delray Beach. Halfway There has numerous apartments located at 1100 S.W. Fourth Ave., according to the facility’s Facebook page.

Real Life Recovery of Delray Beach does not offer housing but rather provides the clinical services for “all levels of outpatient treatment, healing and support for anyone seeking addiction help.”

No arrests have resulted from the two raids, but they have put the operators of treatment centers and recovery homes on notice, said Lehman, who has been providing information to investigators. Lehman said the investigation is focusing on insurance fraud and patient brokering — practices that have tarnished the industry.

“Eighty percent of the service providers in recovery housing and treatment are ethical players,” Lehman said. “But 20 percent are bad operators and they’re giving a bad name to the good operators and making it difficult for them to compete in the marketplace.”

For example, operators of some recovery residences lure addicts and alcoholics who have insurance to their halfway houses with gifts such as free cellphones, rent and grocery gift cards. Others pay middle-men to bring them new residents, Lehman said.

As for insurance fraud, Lehman said the most profitable scam involves billing insurance companies as much as $4,500 for urinalysis tests that are not medically necessary.

After word spread of the raids, Lehman said he fielded calls from parents around the country who have children living at Halfway There.

“The fact that the FBI was there was enough for them to want their son or daughter out,” Lehman said.

Ryan Doyle, a resident of Halfway There for about a month, said he didn’t believe it when his roommate woke him up with news that the FBI was outside.

Doyle, 19, said he saw agents going into the owner’s office but not homes. He said he also did not see agents leaving with any items.

FBI spokesman James Marshall confirmed agents were in the area but said no other information was available.

Doyle said he knew residents of Good Decisions who were kicked out after the raid in September. He said he can’t imagine residents of Halfway There will be thrown out of their homes.

“They aren’t going to throw 130 addicts out,” he said. “It’s not very good for the Delray community.”


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