No bond for sober home owner dubbed serial fraudster

Ken Bailynson, a former sober home operator described in a federal court on Friday as a serial fraudster, will remain in jail while he awaits trial on charges of money laundering and health care fraud.

Federal Magistrate William Matthewman rejected bond, finding that Bailynson is a flight risk and poses an economic danger to the community. During the two-hour bond hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Hayes described Bailynson’s sober home in West Palm Beach, Good Decisions Sober Living, as a “piss farm” that existed “only to harvest residents’ urine” for costly drug tests that were not used in the treatment of recovering addicts.

How Florida ignited the heroin epidemic - a Palm Beach Post exclusive investigation

Between 2011 and 2015, Bailynson’s sober home, treatment program and lab billed 80 insurance companies more than $106 million for urine drug screens. The companies paid out $31.1 million, Hayes said. Of that amount, Bailynson received $14.7 million, Hayes said.

A Palm Beach Post investigation in 2015 detailed how Bailynson took over Green Terrace, a condominium complex on Georgia Avenue in West Palm Beach, and turned it into an armed camp, where guards with guns made sure addicts did not leave and nosy residents minded their own business. By the time the FBI raided Good Decisions in September 2014, Bailynson had converted the pool clubhouse into a urine collection site and banned unit owners from entering.

Urine drug tests are a staple in drug treatment, providing a fast and easy way to determine whether an addict has relapsed. However, unscrupulous drug treatment operators paid doctors to write prescriptions for costly and complex urine drug tests as often as four times a week, billing insurance companies as much as $6,000 per test.

Addiction treatment bonanza: How urine tests rake in millions

Bailynson compensated residents for bringing in new addicts with trips to Universal Studios in Orlando and discounts on rent. Addicts living at Green Terrace who lost their insurance were evicted, Hayes said.

In some cases, tests were ordered before the results of the prior test had been received and test results were not used in treating addicts, Hayes said. Several residents at Good Decisions had urine drug test bills of more than $1 million, Hayes said. Others racked up bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars within months, Hayes said.

Although Bailynson shut down Good Decisions shortly after it was raided by the FBI in September 2014, he went back into business, operating a treatment center, lab and sober home through companies created in the names of his girlfriend and former employees, Hayes said. One former employee testified that Bailynson has nothing to do with the business

Bailynson, known for his explosive temper, sat calmly between his two, private lawyers with the law firm of Holland & Knight. Attorney LT Lafferty said Bailynson is not a flight risk because he now has a 21-month-old son and his passport was seized during the 2014 raid. Bailynson also owns dozens of condos at Green Terrace, several apartment buildings in suburban Lake Worth and his home.

RELATED: Palm Beach Post coverage of the sober home industry

As for Bailynson’s expletive-laced tirades, Lafferty said Bailynson is a “typical” guy from New Jersey: “He speaks loudly. He likes to be heard.”

Three other defendants indicted with Bailynson were granted bond. Dr. Mark Agresti, facing health care fraud charges for writing prescriptions for unnecessary drug tests, is free on $250,000 bond. Bail was set at $150,000 for Stephanie Curran, a former employee of Good Decisions. Matt Noel, also a former employee, is free on his own recognizance.

Bailynson will be arraigned on July 31.

Next Up in Local

Cerabino: Torn-jeans dress-code flap hard to bare for school parents
Cerabino: Torn-jeans dress-code flap hard to bare for school parents

I’m foolishly wading into a great controversy gripping our community. That is, whether it was right for Palm Beach County Mayor Melissa McKinlay’s daughter to be hauled out of her high school class for violating the dress code with a pair of jeans that had a wide rip at the right knee. The high-powered mom took to her Facebook page last...
Delray throat cancer survivor to perform concert in Boca on Saturday
Delray throat cancer survivor to perform concert in Boca on Saturday

There was a time when Cecilia St. King wasn’t sure if she’d belt out a ballad again. Singing was how St. King coped with tragedy, including the events of Sept. 11, 2001 — she was blocks from the World Trade Centers when they’d collapsed in a terrorist attack. Six months later, she was diagnosed with throat cancer. “When...
BREAKING: Man found shot to death in Lake Worth
BREAKING: Man found shot to death in Lake Worth

A man was found shot to death Tuesday afternoon in Lake Worth, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies responded to the shooting around 2 p.m. in the 2600 block of 6th Avenue South and found the man dead. The cause of the shooting is unknown. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County at (800)...
Treasure Coast teacher sues over shooting at Jacksonville tournament
Treasure Coast teacher sues over shooting at Jacksonville tournament

Treasure Coast history teacher Dalton Kent was competing in one of the final rounds of a gaming tournament in Jacksonville last month when the deafening roar of gunfire pierced his concentration. Diving under the table, the 22-year-old Port St. Lucie man was convinced he was going to die. While two gamers were killed during the Aug. 26 rampage at...
More Stories