breaking news

Officers from two city police departments at Riviera Beach home

Kenny Chatman case: Federal court hearing cancelled pending settlement


A federal court hearing this morning to decide just how many millions Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman will have to pay back to insurance companies he defrauded with his corrupt drug treatment centers has been cancelled, pending a settlement that has not yet been announced.

The number could have been eight figures, after Chatman admitted that his phony treatment centers — Reflections in Broward County and Journey to Recovery in Lake Worth — collected between $9.5 million and $25 million in insurance reimbursements.

While most of the defendants already have reached agreements with federal prosecutors about how much restitution they’ll have to pay, Chatman’s lawyer, Saam Zangeneh, said Tuesday that negotiations were ongoing.

Chatman’s number could dwarf any of his co-defendants, six of whom have been ordered to pay back millions.

In a case that has garnered national attention, Chatman was sentenced to 27½ years in prison in May for creating fraudulent drug treatment centers and a series of affiliated sober homes that were houses of horror.

RELATED: ‘Kenny Chatman kidnapped me:’ Read one woman’s human trafficking story

He admitted to holding female patients captive and turning them into prostitutes. Former doctors and employees said the businesses were shams, designed not to treat patients but to rack up millions in insurance money. And multiple patients overdosed and died under his care.

A federal prosecutor called him “the most dangerous” player in Florida’s drug treatment industry, much of which is corrupt, leading to more than 30 arrests in Palm Beach County alone since October.

Chatman is appealing his sentence.

Just how much anyone will end up paying is unknown. Federal restitution holds a group of people responsible for paying off a large pool of money, with some defendants having different thresholds of responsibility. Some could pay more than they should, others less.

In the Chatman case, six of the eight defendants are responsible for millions. The amounts differ by defendant and how long they were involved in the fraud.

Chatman’s wife, Laura, has been ordered to pay back the most so far: $7.7 million.

One of his longest-serving employees, Fransesia “Francine” Davis, is on the hook for $7 million, even though she earned very little while working for Chatman.

Dr. Donald Willems’ threshold is the smallest, at about $3 million.

Each of the defendants — except for Davis, who argued last week that she would be too poor to afford commissary items — will have half of their prison earnings go toward restitution. After they get out of prison, 10 percent of their earnings will go toward restitution, until their thresholds are reached.

Another defendant, bodybuilder and lab owner Stefan Gatt, will have to pay a separate $3.7 million to insurance companies. Chatman also will have to pay some of that amount.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

NEW: Officers from two city police departments at Riviera Beach home 
NEW: Officers from two city police departments at Riviera Beach home 

Police officers from two agencies have closed off parts of a Riviera Beach neighborhood Thursday evening.  Police cars for Riviera Beach and West Palm Beach officers put up police tape near a home on west 14th Street and Avenue R, just south of Blue Heron Boulevard and east of North Congress Avenue.  West Palm Beach police said...
Morgan Freeman friend defends actor after misconduct allegations, speaks out against accusers
Morgan Freeman friend defends actor after misconduct allegations, speaks out against accusers

At least eight women have accused actor Morgan Freeman of inappropriate behavior, according to a report from CNN. The women said the behavior happened on and off movie sets. >> Read more trending news  Freeman is an Academy Award-winning actor, but he's also a business owner in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Two blocks around the corner...
A year later: What’s going on with Jupiter’s proposed no-wake zone?
A year later: What’s going on with Jupiter’s proposed no-wake zone?

A female leatherback turtle had to be euthanized on May 8 after suffering five propeller cuts, each 24 inches long, that became infected with meningitis. One slice was so deep that it severed the turtle’s spinal cord causing her to become paralyzed, according to the preliminary necropsy. The turtle, that was “loaded with eggs,” was...
Honda Classic charity gets a new president
Honda Classic charity gets a new president

John Domenico has been tapped as president of the Children’s Healthcare Charity, the charitable arm of the Honda Classic.  Domenico has served on the board for eight years and succeeds Joe Steranka, who finished his four-year term. Domenico is a managing director and private client advisor for U.S. Trust, a private bank that serves high...
Veterans ceremony: We’ll always honor their memory, ‘it’s just in a different realm’
Veterans ceremony: We’ll always honor their memory, ‘it’s just in a different realm’

Through teary eyes and cracked voices, family members of fallen veterans walked to the front of the room, placed a white flower in a vase and spoke the name of their loved one. They gathered Thursday at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center for the Last Roll Call Ceremony of Remembrance, to honor and celebrate veterans who have died over the last year...
More Stories