Speculation that a two-year-long investigation into corruption in the Palm Beach County’s addiction treatment industry would yield no arrests ended on Tuesday when law enforcement officials raided Whole Life Recovery, a Boynton Beach treatment center, and arrested its owner and operator.
CEo James Kigar and operations consultant Christopher Hutson face patient brokering charges, a third degree felony.
They are being held at the Palm Beach County jail and will appear in front of a judge Wednesday morning.
In 2014, the FBI launched Operation Thoroughbred, a federal investigation into accusations of insurance fraud, money laundering, patient brokering and kickbacks in the county’s $1 billion industry. Agents raided two sober living and treatment businesses, Good Decisions Sober Living in West Palm Beach and Halfway There/Real Life Recovery in Delray Beach.
Corruption was so rampant that Cigna stopped selling policies on Florida’s insurance exchange.
In response, some sober homes and treatment centers closed. Others changed their business and billing practices. However, as time passed and no arrests were made, the industry rebounded.
Hutson’s criminal record includes a conviction for fraud for his role in a $40 million pill mill empire operated by Wellington brothers Christopher and Jeff George. According to court records, Hutson ran an illegal internet steroid business and sold steroids on behalf of Jeffrey George.
Hutson also posed as a patient and obtained prescriptions for oxycodone — which he sold to others. Christopher George financed an MRI facilty for Hutson, which referred patients to the pain clinic.