- By Hannah Winston Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A Delray Beach and Lantana sober-home owner pleaded guilty to eight counts of patient brokering Wednesday morning.
Ronald Tomasso, 59, will serve 12 months at the Palm Beach County Jail and three years of probation, according to court records.
Tomasso, who was arrested in March, pleaded before Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Laura Johnson and also was ordered to pay $10,500 in fines. According to his plea, he cannot work directly or indirectly with any recovery home or substance-abuse treatment centers.
Tomasso’s brother, James, pleaded guilty to 21 counts of patient brokering in September and is serving an 18-month sentence.
Patient brokering is when a treatment center pays sober homes to refer their clients to it. Florida law prohibits treatment facilities to pay for new patients by way of kickbacks, commissions or other payment methods. A Palm Beach Post investigation found widespread insurance fraud and patient brokering among other things in the drug-treatment industry.
According to investigators, Ronald Tomasso had a contract with his brother to refer his sober-home patients to his brother’s wife’s substance-abuse facility in Palm Beach County. Ronald Tomasso owned four sober homes, including three in Delray Beach and one in Lantana, and received $29,700 in payments between December 2016 and January 2017, according to investigators.
Authorities learned of the brothers’ partnership when the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force raided James Tomasso’s businesses in 2017.
James Tomasso’s dealings have lead to several other arrests under the task force, according to court records.