- By Jane Musgrave Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A 48-year-old Wellington woman and her father have been sentenced in connection with their operation of Angel’s Recovery, a treatment center that prosecutors described as one of the biggest scams in Palm Beach County’s illicit sober home industry.
Despite appeals for a light sentence, Tovah Lynn “Tara” Jasperson was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks on Friday. Her father, 75-year-old Alan Bostom was handed a 2 1/2-year sentence. Both were ordered to repay $4 million they pocketed by duping insurance companies into paying for questionable treatment and unnecessary tests.
Jasperson received a harsher sentence because she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud in connection with a scheme to pay kickbacks and bribes to unscrupulous sober home operators to get them to refer insured residents to Angel’s Recovery for treatment. Her father, in contrast, pleaded guilty to making false statements regarding a health care matter.
Their attorneys sought to distance Jasperson and Bostom from dozens of sober home operators who have been sentenced in connection with similar illicit operations. The father and daughter established the treatment center at multiple locations around the county to help people, said Bostom’s attorney Robert Nicholson.
“Mr. Bostom established Angel’s Recovery at the request of his now deceased wife after she had personally failed to find sobriety after stays at a number of other treatment facilities,” he wrote. “Angel’s Recovery was set up to be different from the start and was designed to provide a more effective and nurturing environment for addicts seeking recovery.”
Citing dozens of letters of support written by former clients and staff members, clearly much of the operation was legitimate, wrote attorney Alvin Entin, who represented Jasperson, a single mother who once trained horses throughout the country.
Unfortunately, both attorneys said, the father and daughter fell victim to others who simply wanted to use addicts to make money. Jasperson and Bostom ran afoul of the law by working with unsavory sober house operators, they said. They also hired a medical director who, prosecutors said, often pre-signed prescriptions for powerful narcotics that were handed out to patients.
Pointing out that neither had criminal records and both are in poor health, they urged Middlebrooks to impose lenient sentences. “What Angel’s Recovery and Mr. Bostom are not guilty of is providing poor care to patients,” Nicholson wrote.
However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafana said the farflung scheme was lucrative and well-planned. “As the founders, owners, and CEOs of Angel’s Recovery, both (Jasperson and Bostom) held positions of trust that allowed them to commit … fraud and avoid detection,” she wrote.