Florida Sober Home Crackdown Leads to Three More Arrests

By Kelly Burch 03/01/17

The Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force's crackdown on kickbacks and patient brokering has resulted in nearly 20 arrests.

Man in handcuffs.

Three more people have been arrested on charges that they received kickbacks for referring patients to Chapters Recovery, a drug treatment center in Delray Beach that is being investigated for corruption amid sweeping investigations of the billion-dollar recovery industry in Palm Beach, Florida. 

According to the Palm Beach Post, Adam Lahr, 25, and his brother Eric Lahr, 28, were each charged with 34 counts of patient brokering. The brothers ran a sober home business called Vantage, The Treatment Professionals. The Lahrs received a total of $185,904 from Chapters Recovery since March 2016 for enrolling people who lived in their sober home into treatment at Chapters Recovery. 

The owner of Chapters, Daniel Kandler, was arrested on February 23 and charged with 93 account of patient brokering. In Florida it is a third-degree felony to offer kickbacks and bribes to lure in patients. 

Another sober home operator, John Dudek, 55, was arrested for the second time on patient brokering charges. At the time of his first arrest in November in connection with kickbacks from another treatment program, he told authorities he was surprised they weren’t investigating Chapters Recovery, and admitted to signing a contract with “Daniel” to refer insured residents from his sober home to Chapters. 

Kandler’s arrest report alleges that he paid $325,000 to three sober home operators who enrolled their residents in treatment at Chapters. 

The arrests are the result of investigations by the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force, which was established last year with $275,000 in funding from the state legislature. Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg pledged to investigate corruption in the county’s recovery industry. 

“Our Task Force continues to move full steam ahead to investigate and prosecute these cases to clean up the drug treatment and sober home industry,” Aronberg said after Kandler’s arrest. 

In 2014, the FBI investigated accusations of insurance fraud, money laundering, patient brokering and kickbacks into Palm Beach County’s $1 billion industry. At the time, corruption was so prevalent that insurance provider Cigna stopped selling policies on the Florida exchange. Following the FBI investigation, some sober homes closed, but when there were no arrests the industry returned to old practices. 

In October, the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force made its first arrest, and about 18 people have been arrested since then who were linked to kickbacks and corruption in the treatment and recovery industry. 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.