Florida woman sentenced to 30 months in prison for role in $4.5 million drug-testing scheme
For Immediate Release
July 7, 2022
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.— A Florida woman on June 29, 2022, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for her role in a scheme in which she received illegal kickbacks and bribes in exchange for referring residents of her sober home to a substance abuse treatment center, which billed insurance companies $4.5 million for medically unnecessary drug testing and purported substance abuse treatment provided to those residents.
According to court documents, Marthe Hippolyte, 59, of Wellington, owned Turning Point Sober Home Inc. and a related marketing company, through which she operated several sober living residences in Florida to house individuals in a drug- and alcohol-free environment while they received treatment at substance abuse treatment centers.
Hippolyte accepted approximately $254,000 in kickbacks and bribes, often disguised as management fees, from Kenneth Chatman, the operator of Reflections Treatment Center, a treatment center that purported to operate as a licensed substance abuse treatment center. In exchange for the kickbacks and bribes, Hippolyte helped bring in patients from outside Florida who could be referred to Reflections Treatment Center and required residents of Turning Point’s sober homes to travel to Reflections several times per week to attend purported substance abuse treatment sessions and submit to urine drug testing. For the residents referred to Reflections by Hippolyte, Chatman and others billed private insurers $4.5 million for substance abuse and bodily fluid testing that was medically unnecessary, not reimbursable, and not provided as represented.
Hippolyte pleaded guilty on January 25, 2022, to one count of conspiracy to violate the Travel Act. Chatman pleaded guilty in 2017 to conspiracy to commit health care fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, and was sentenced to 330 months imprisonment.
The Amtrak Office of Inspector General is supporting the FBI-led Greater Palm Beach Health Care Fraud Task Force in its ongoing investigation into a series of complex insurance fraud schemes in Florida. Amtrak OIG investigators were invited to be part of the task force in 2014 after Amtrak insurance providers received allegedly fraudulent charges from substance abuse treatment centers and facilities known as “sober homes” in the area. Other agencies of the task force include the IRS-Criminal Investigation; Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Investigative & Forensic Services; and Department of Labor-Employee Benefits Security Administration.
Reports of fraud, waste, or abuse; criminal or unethical acts affecting Amtrak’s property or operations; or mismanagement in Amtrak programs or operations can be made 24 hours a day via the Amtrak OIG Hotline at 1-800-468-5469 or online at https://direc.to/hPAu.