Fifteen people are behind bars in a multi-state drug treatment fraud investigation.
The arrests involve a Lake Park laboratory and 10 south Florida treatment centers, from Ft. Pierce all the way to Miami.
Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg says this was a collaborative effort with the FBI, Justice Department, Palm Beach County Sober Homes Task Force, and the Pennsylvania’s Office of the Attorney General.
Among those arrested in Florida is a Palm Beach County family accused of patient brokering.
According to court documents, husband and wife Steven and Alana Manko, along with their daughter Irene Manko, managed Treatment Alternatives, LLC.
Court documents show they were paid $200,000 in kickbacks for referring patients to Coastal Laboratory in Lake Park for urine testing. Aronberg says Coastal Laboratory was involved in paying more than $6 million, just in kickbacks, to at least 12 different facilities from 2015 to 2017.
“So you have treatment centers in cahoots with the labs sending urine to the labs, the labs giving a kickback to the treatment centers and everyone is making money on the backs of individuals with substance abuse disorder, also on the backs of taxpayers who ultimately fund this scheme. It is a scheme that enriches many, at the costs of lives, at the cost of making our opioid epidemic worse, where relapse is preferred by rogue providers over recovery,” Aronberg said.
Aronberg started the Sober Home Task Force in 2016. So far, the task force has made more than 85 arrests for patient brokering and other crimes.
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