Sober Homes Task Force arrest two on patient brokering charges


Two more drug treatment center owners were arrested Friday on multiple counts of patient brokering, bringing the total number of people arrested by the State Attorney’s Sober Homes Task Force to 32.

Nick Cirio, 38, was arrested on 10 counts of patient brokering, a second-degree felony that carries a $100,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.

Evan Rodriguez, 43, was arrested on 53 counts of patient brokering, a first-degree felony that carries a $500,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison.

Both men were stung by the same unidentified informant, a Lake Worth sober home operator who told task force officials that Cirio and Rodriguez paid him between $325 and $2,500 for each patient he sent them, a police report stated. The sober home was at 702 N. G St.

Both men would pay the informant for sending the people living in his sober home to Hope Recovery and Wellness at 1860 Old Okeechobee Road, the report said.

The facility is owned by Rodriguez’s mother, and the two men would pay the informant through a separate company they owned together, the report said. Between February and November 2016, they wrote the informant 10 checks totaling $32,500.

The informant also said he was paid to send people to Palm Beach Recovery and Wellness at 6600 S. Dixie Highway, near Forest Hill Boulevard. The business is owned by Melissa Johnson, the wife of Steve Johnson, who was arrested earlier this year on 48 counts of patient brokering.

The informant said he was paid by Rodriguez and an unidentified person through another company, Reel Recovery. The company is owned by Rodriguez and Steve Johnson.

Between January and October 2016, Reel Recovery paid the informant $32,500 with 43 checks, according to the reports.

The Legislature this year increased the penalties for patient brokering. Handling more than 20 patients is now a first-degree felony.



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