Kenny Chatman case: Federal court hearing cancelled pending settlement


A federal court hearing this morning to decide just how many millions Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman will have to pay back to insurance companies he defrauded with his corrupt drug treatment centers has been cancelled, pending a settlement that has not yet been announced.

The number could have been eight figures, after Chatman admitted that his phony treatment centers — Reflections in Broward County and Journey to Recovery in Lake Worth — collected between $9.5 million and $25 million in insurance reimbursements.

While most of the defendants already have reached agreements with federal prosecutors about how much restitution they’ll have to pay, Chatman’s lawyer, Saam Zangeneh, said Tuesday that negotiations were ongoing.

Chatman’s number could dwarf any of his co-defendants, six of whom have been ordered to pay back millions.

In a case that has garnered national attention, Chatman was sentenced to 27½ years in prison in May for creating fraudulent drug treatment centers and a series of affiliated sober homes that were houses of horror.

RELATED: ‘Kenny Chatman kidnapped me:’ Read one woman’s human trafficking story

He admitted to holding female patients captive and turning them into prostitutes. Former doctors and employees said the businesses were shams, designed not to treat patients but to rack up millions in insurance money. And multiple patients overdosed and died under his care.

A federal prosecutor called him “the most dangerous” player in Florida’s drug treatment industry, much of which is corrupt, leading to more than 30 arrests in Palm Beach County alone since October.

Chatman is appealing his sentence.

Just how much anyone will end up paying is unknown. Federal restitution holds a group of people responsible for paying off a large pool of money, with some defendants having different thresholds of responsibility. Some could pay more than they should, others less.

In the Chatman case, six of the eight defendants are responsible for millions. The amounts differ by defendant and how long they were involved in the fraud.

Chatman’s wife, Laura, has been ordered to pay back the most so far: $7.7 million.

One of his longest-serving employees, Fransesia “Francine” Davis, is on the hook for $7 million, even though she earned very little while working for Chatman.

Dr. Donald Willems’ threshold is the smallest, at about $3 million.

Each of the defendants — except for Davis, who argued last week that she would be too poor to afford commissary items — will have half of their prison earnings go toward restitution. After they get out of prison, 10 percent of their earnings will go toward restitution, until their thresholds are reached.

Another defendant, bodybuilder and lab owner Stefan Gatt, will have to pay a separate $3.7 million to insurance companies. Chatman also will have to pay some of that amount.



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