Opioid addicts checking in to the “No Drug Zone” in Florida’s Boynton Beach area were expecting to get help and support with kicking their addictions, with a view to improving the rest of their lives. Instead, they were unwittingly sucked into a scam where so-called sober homes and rehabs, dotted around South Florida, claimed the addicts’ insurance money without providing a service. The insurance fraud wasn’t the worst of it – some addicts ended up dead due to the malpractice of the doctors and employees of these homes.
The Truth About No Drug Zone
Far from being a safe space for addicts to get clean and move on with their lives, No Drug Zone was possibly more enabling than living independently would have been. The owners focused on those habitual users who had been sucked into the Florida Shuffle, the name given to moving from sober house to sober homes, vainly in search of the one that was successful. Rather than supporting the addicts who so desperately needed help, those operating No Drug Zone, Angels, and other supposed sober homes deliberately sought out insured addicts, before raising exorbitant claims for practically non-existent treatment.
Former residents of the home told how they were put to work recruiting new members, trawling the streets looking for those with suitcases and asking if they needed somewhere to clean up and, more importantly, had insurance. Sandy Hinkle, whose daughter Katie Cruea, died after overdosing in a motel shortly after leaving Angels, has since found numerous bills demanding payments of $1,400 for a day in group therapy, and $2,700 for lab services, which generally amounted to a simple urine drug test.
MIkaya Fruecht, another victim of these fraudulent sober homes, was found dead in a motel after leaving No Drug Zone. The Florida Shuffle was not only ineffective but fatal for the people who needed help most.
Medical Malpractice at Florida Sober Homes
Albert Jones, who started in this sober home insurance business at Angels in 2014, pleaded guilty on January 17 to federal charges of conspiring to commit health care fraud and maintaining drug-involved premises, with the cost of his fraud estimated at around $2 million. The former owners of Angel’s, Alan Bostom and his daughter Tovah Jasperson, have admitted to offering sober homes up to $700,000 for referring patients to Angel’s recovery program.
It’s not only the owners and operators of these fraudulent organizations that have been guilty of hindering the progress of the addicts, as Angel’s former medical director, Dr. Kenneth Rivera-Folb, was issuing prescriptions on a suspended license. When he was appointed to this role, he did have a valid medical license but was under investigation over the death of a patient in his care. Rivera-Folb was found guilty of medical malpractice in February 2015, but records show he continued to work, and write prescriptions, at Angel’s until at least April of the same year.
As the tragic deaths of those at Angel’s, No Drug Zone and similar locations show, medical malpractice can have terrible consequences. If you or a loved one, have suffered because of a medical error, a Cooper City medical malpractice attorney can help establish liability for injuries and damages, maximizing your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.