Sober Home Abuse
What is a Sober Home?
Sometimes called a halfway house, a sober home is a group living home for recovering from addiction. Typically, people who live in these homes must follow specific rules and contribute to the homegroup by completing mutually-shared household duties. The goal for the residents is to remain sober throughout their stay. The residency assists individuals who are making the transition from rehab to independent living without using drugs or alcohol.
Because addiction can cause a person to act irresponsibly, rules and regulations become extremely important for residents.
- Residents must pay their rent.
- They must purchase food for themselves.
- Complete their assigned chores.
- Comply with periodic drug testing.
The resident must handle any violations through:
- Making amends.
- Paying a fine.
- Writing an essay about the incident.
- In some situations, residents may be asked to leave the home.
Examples of Sober Home Fraud
Unfortunately, this seemingly credible form of therapy can lead to physical or mental abuse, rape, or other types of illicit activity. Below are some examples of sober home abuse making the news.
The directors and owners of the Serenity Ranch exploited residents in their homes by reporting fraudulent claims and through sexual exploitation, as well. The vulnerable patients were lured into the Serenity Ranch scam by promises of free housing, spa days, and illegal drugs.
Kenneth Chatman, the owner of several sober homes and drug treatment centers, preyed on vulnerable addicts lured into drug-infested flophouses in Florida. Thousands of addicts joined Chatman's sober homes and drug treatment centers, hoping he could help them turn their lives around. Instead, they were forced into prostitution, given no treatment, and abused. Chatman's dangerous behavior continued until a man overdosed at one of his facilities. Despite having a felony on his record, Chatman opened a treatment facility using his wife's name.
Jacob's Well, Inc.
Three former co-owners and directors of a group of supposed treatment centers and sober homes committed health care fraud that resulted in a loss of over $3.8 million. Conspirators sought more than $21 million. The team of directors used the proceeds for their personal use and benefit, the use and service of others, and to further their fraud scheme.
Defending the Innocent
The Law Office of Michael C. George, PA takes Sober Home Fraud cases for several reasons. Individuals who claim this insurance money are not at all concerned with restoring a person's sobriety. Addicts who are loved and missed by their families are getting an extra kick in the face when Sober Homes owners are taking money, care, and trust away from the residents.
Regulation of Sober Homes in Florida is substandard. A Sober Homes Task Force began after a Grand Jury investigation decided that the state must clarify the laws. State government agencies must reconsider sober home policies, and those at the helm must regulate marketing approaches. Currently, sober homes cannot face regulation because of federal housing and disability laws. Many believe the Florida Association of Recovery Residences should regulate the homes, but federal housing and disability laws prohibit this move.
Sober Homes cannot be regulated by the state's Agency for Health Care Administration, which licenses health care facilities because the administration does not have adequate resources. Sober Homes are not federally regulated and do not provide recovering residents quality-control procedures, along with a patient bill-of-rights. The directors of the homes make a profit by keeping addicts in a "relapse cycle." However, 27 states have initiated set standards to establish proper care levels for residents in these halfway houses.
Specific Fraud Schemes
Fraudulent homes often find a way to get financial compensation from laboratories for providing them with patients.
Sober houses sometimes receive payments from outpatient treatment centers. The directors direct their residents to specific facilities in exchange for financial compensation.
Fraudulent Drug Treatment Centers
Scam operators prey on addicts in recovery, but some go further by positioning their sober homes as treatment centers. But, instead of receiving comped living expenses or innovative programs, the individuals who are supposed to be in recovery are thrust into an abusive, drug-riddled environment.
We are Here to Help
Attorney Michael C. George can help you navigate this unexpected journey; he will make sure your voice is heard and you receive the compensation you deserve for the injustice you have weathered.
Call (800) 787-6445 tto schedule a free consultation.