- By Lawrence Mower Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
One of the longest-serving employees at Kenny Chatman’s corrupt drug treatment operation won’t have to pay restitution while she serves her seven-year prison sentence, a federal judge ruled today.
Fransesia “Francine” Davis is currently making a measly 12 cents an hour working in a prison cafeteria, with no help from her family to afford basic commissary items.
At that rate, she has to work 44 hours to afford a box of tampons from the commissary, her court-appointed federal public defender, Neison Marks, argued today.
But under the terms of her plea deal, her earnings are even more pitiful: Half of what she earns in prison is supposed to go toward paying down more than $7 million in restitution.
U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks acknowledged that Davis was in a “bad spot” and that 6 cents per hour was “negligible” toward paying back millions.
He agreed that she wouldn’t have to pay anything while she serves her sentence. Once she’s out, 10 percent of whatever she earns has to go toward paying down the $7 million.
Davis was one of the longest-serving employees at Chatman’s Reflections Treatment Center in Broward County. She was also a “house mother” at his various sober homes in Palm Beach County, which were essentially drug dens where drug use was open and tolerated.
At one of his homes, in Mangonia Park, he kept women captive and pimped them out. One woman testified at his sentencing that she was held in chains and escaped through a window.
Davis pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and maintaining a drug-involved house.
Chatman pleaded guilty to money laundering, conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, and was sentenced to 27.5 years in prison. He’s appealing the sentence.
Davis and the other defendants, including Chatman, have to pay down the more than $7 million toward insurance companies that were defrauded. They’ll each pitch in 10 percent of their earnings until it’s paid.
Apparently because of her crimes, she’s not eligible for a better Unicor job making various products such as clothing and car parts. The federal inmate work program typically pays between 23 cents and $1.15 an hour, according to its website.
Davis appeared today in handcuffs and a blue jump suit, clutching a worn manila envelope full of documents. She didn’t argue that she shouldn’t pay restitution once she’s released.
“I have no problem paying restitution,” she said. “It’s just that I have no outside help or anything.”
Davis, 44, was homeless until Chatman found her and took her in and gave her a job working in a sober home years ago, Davis’ daughter said earlier this year.