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.

FBI: Sober home owner offered deal: Prostitute yourself or steal


The investigation into Kenny Chatman’s drug treatment empire began in September 2013, when two patients at a treatment center operated by him told West Palm Beach police that Chatman provided them with drugs and condoms and forced them into prostitution.

Police told the FBI about the patients’ claims and as the investigation progressed over three years, more witnesses came forward with similar — and new — stories. Some of those, previously undisclosed, were made public in court documents filed by a federal prosecutor.

One confidential informant told investigators that Chatman and his associates advertised women living in his sober homes on webpages of local escort services. The only alternative to prostitution was stealing high-end items from retail stores and turning them over to Chatman, one informant said.

Another informant was ordered to sign documents for bogus services from a doctor, massage therapist and chiropractor or leave the program. Chatman confiscated residents’ phones to prevent them from contacting anyone outside the program, another informant said.

Chatman verbally and physically abused clients and provided — even encouraged — them to use drugs while living in his sober homes. Relapses enabled Chatman to continue billing their insurance for treatment, an informant said.

Despite the abuse and “flop house” living conditions, clients stayed because Chatman “gives great stuff,” including free cigarettes, hair styling, manicures and pedicures and clothes.

To demonstrate the scope of law enforcement involved, prosecutors identified 11 state and federal law enforcement agencies, including the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud, that have been working on the investigation.

According to prosecutors, the division has received more than 350 tips and complaints about 175 treatment facilities in South Florida.

A 17-count indictment handed down Jan. 24 accuses Chatman of money laundering, health care fraud and sex trafficking, charges that could send him to prison for life.

Stretching from Mangonia Park in Palm Beach County to Plantation in Broward County, his businesses brought in an estimated $5.4 million during its four-year run, according to the indictment.

Chatman’s 44-year-old wife, Laura, along with two doctors who worked at the treatment centers and three others also were indicted, most on money laundering and health care fraud charges.

Some have already made plea deals.

Michael Bonds, owner of Redemption sober homes in Delray Beach, pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy to commit health-care fraud for accepting $240,000 in kickbacks allegedly paid by Chatman. Stefan Gatt, 27, a salesman at a medical lab in Boca Raton, pleaded guilty to the same charge.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Oscars 2017: Jimmy Kimmel surprises Hollywood tourists with Academy Awards visit
Oscars 2017: Jimmy Kimmel surprises Hollywood tourists with Academy Awards visit

During Sunday night’s Academy Awards, host Jimmy Kimmel pulled a prank on a group of people who thought they had taken a bus to tour a museum. Instead, they entered the building to discover that they had been taken to the Oscars. While there, the tour bus riders snapped photos as they were introduced to some stars, including Ryan Gosling, the...
Oscars 2017: 'Moonlight' wins Best Picture after 'La La Land' mistakenly announced
Oscars 2017: 'Moonlight' wins Best Picture after 'La La Land' mistakenly announced

The 89th Annual Academy Awards ended on a confusing note, to say the least, after a mistake in the named winner of Best Picture. Actor Warren Beatty was on stage presenting the award with actress Faye Dunaway and after pausing to read the winner, he looked to Dunaway. She then announced that the award went to musical "La La Land." The filmmakers...
​2017 Oscars: Mahershala Ali makes history as first Muslim to win an Academy Award
​2017 Oscars: Mahershala Ali makes history as first Muslim to win an Academy Award

Mahershala Ali has a lot to celebrate this week. On top of welcoming a daughter with wife, Amatus Sami-Karim, on Sunday, Ali became the first ever Muslim actor to win an Academy Award. He won for his role in the film "Moonlight." During his emotional acceptance speech, Ali took a moment to thank his "wonderful teachers and professors"...
2017 Oscars: Iranian director Asghar Farhadi issues statement on immigration, doesn't appear onstage
2017 Oscars: Iranian director Asghar Farhadi issues statement on immigration, doesn't appear onstage

Director Asghar Farhadi won the Academy Award for best foreign language film for his work on "The Salesman," Sunday, but was not there to accept the Oscar. Vanity Fair reported that instead, the Iranian director sent Anousheh Ansari, the first Iranian and first Muslim woman in space, and Firouz Naderi, former director of Solar Systems...
More Stories