More Arrests Made in Florida’s Sober Home Patient Brokering Investigation
Florida authorities are cracking down on illegal patient brokering in the sober home industry. Florida’s patient brokering law makes it illegal to pay or accept “any commission, bonus, rebate, kickback, or bribe, directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind,” for the referral of patients.
The Palm Beach County task force spearheading the investigation has made at least forty arrests since its inception. Police spokeswoman Nicole Guerriero confirmed Delray authorities made five arrests during the third week of October, while the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office made a sixth arrest the same week. Sean O’Hara, Scott Gillis, Bradley Vercosa, Michael Martin, Toni Lucca and Bronwyn Finnegan were all taken into custody on Thursday, October 19th.
Three of the six arrested have been charged with patient brokering in connection to James Tomasso, who ran Global Recovery Resources and operated substance abuse treatment centers in Boca Raton, Greenacres and Delray Beach. Authorities arrested Tomasso back in February of this year and he pleaded guilty to 21 counts of patient brokering.
Toni Lucca, Michael Martin, and Sean O’Hara received cash from Tomasso for recommending treatment at his centers. All three sent pictures of residents’ driver’s licenses and insurance cards to Tomasso to identify patients for brokering.
Lucca owned Pura Vida Halfway House and was arrested on ten counts of aiding, abetting or participating in patient brokering. She received at least $7,900 in exchange for patient referrals.
Martin owned Fresh Beginnings Sober Living and was arrested on 24 counts of aiding, abetting or participating in patient brokering. Martin received at least $19,400.
O’Hara owned Life Rewritten and was arrested on five counts of aiding, abetting or participating in patient brokering. He received at least $7,900.
Scott Gillis and Bronwyn Finnegan, both 27 years old and living together in Delray Beach, were arrested on one count each of patient brokering. Gillis and Finnegan operated Total Serenity Florida sober homes, also known as Gallop House, and received $9,000 for referring residents to Good Future, a Delray Beach treatment center also known as Chapters Recovery.
The owners of Chapters – David Remland, Daniel Kandler and Mark Desimone – as well as Sarah Muhammad, the admissions director, were arrested earlier this year amid the crackdown and charged with multiple counts of patient brokering.
Finnegan worked as an independent contractor and later a part-time employee at Florida’s Association of Recovery Residences (FARR), a Boca Raton-based non-profit organization contracted by the Department of Children and Families to oversee Florida’s voluntary sober-home certification program. Finnegan aided in creating training materials and reports, as well as reviewing complaints about sober homes submitted on FARR’s website. She left FARR in August 2016.
Bradley Vercosa of Wellington faces a whopping 50 counts of patient brokering. No additional information regarding his arrest has been released.
All six are byproducts of cases filed earlier this year against the owners of Florida’s treatment centers participating in brokering. The cases accuse center owners of paying sober home operators “case management fees” for every addict they enrolled in treatment. The task force continues to investigate.