Officials Warn of Addiction Treatment Facility Scams

WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — It’s a story all too common.  An overdose death, but in this situation, the overdose happened at a sober house.  Even more shocking, officials from multiple states say this is a scam targeting the most vulnerable.  It targets addicts, desperately trying to get their lives back on track.

Peter SanAngelo was addicted to opioids and desperate for help.

“He had a young son and really wanted to have a life that would allow him to be a positive influence and be a present parent,” said Samantha Herring, Peter’s cousin.  “That was really the underlying drive for him to get help.”

Samantha Herring is a Walton County resident.  She says she was hopeful when Peter told her about his plan to go to a recovery residence in Delray Beach.

“He was offered, ‘Hey we can get you a scholarship to go down to beachside and get treatment down there, how would you like that? We’ll pay to fly you down there, we’ll coordinate everything,’” Herring said.

Hope turned into heartache last October.  Peter’s family received a phone call from the manager of the so called sober house.

“He advised me that Peter had died in their van, their company van the night before from an overdose,” Herring said.

Samantha says the facility wasn’t providing the treatment or the support that was promised.

“It was very tragic for our family,” Herring said.

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg says the scenario is common.  He says addicts with private insurance are targeted by facilities that are after a big insurance payday.  Aronberg says patient information is often falsified by patient brokers, people who are paid to recruit addicts to the scam facilities.

“They applied for changes to his insurance policy and did so because he had a new address, which happened to be from a state that had very lucrative benefits,” Herring said.

Aronberg says most of these sober houses are unregulated, and actually count on patients…

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