Florida rehab facility owner Eric Snyder has been arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. According to allegations first raised in a whistleblower lawsuit, Snyder fraudulently billed several insurance companies by $58.2 million.
Snyder’s accomplice Christopher Fuller, also charged with similar violations, used to recruit drug addicts at AA meetings and crack addict hangouts.
Allegedly, Snyder would later bill insurance companies for treatments and tests for the recruited patients. In order to get them to participate in the scheme, Snyder routinely offered kickbacks in the shape of plane tickets, strip club visits, and cash.
Snyder had first come to Florida in 2009 as a recovering addict himself. After he started his outpatient treatment program, Real Life Recovery, his Facebook postings went from inspirational 12-step program quotes to depictions of a luxurious lifestyle.
Fuller, on the other hand, had been arrested 19 times prior to his involvement with Snyder.
Whistleblower Shada Overton Exposes Real Life Recovery Fraud
The fraud first came to light thanks to former Real Life Recovery therapist Shada Overton, a whistleblower who came forward when she noticed her signature was being forged in fraudulent claims.
Overton was able to prove the forging of her signature because claims were submitted using her name after she stopped working for the company.
Snyder run both a treatment center, Real Life Recovery, and a sober home, Halfway There. One of the fraudulent ways he used, to boost profits, involved urine tests. The defendant allegedly billed insurers twice for the same tests, split samples to maximize profits, and ordered unnecessary tests with the sole purpose of billing for them.
Law enforcement was able to arrest Snyder and Fuller thanks to collaboration from another whistleblower who used to be a director of operations for one of Snyder’s centers. The whistleblower came forward shortly after FBI raided the South Florida facility, revealing several cases of billings for services never rendered.
Some of the most dramatic cases of misconduct by Fuller and Real Life Recovery involve patients who were dropped off without treatment at shabby motels, because they couldn’t afford the program’s steep fees, and later overdosed and died.
Snyder’s modus operandi included using many different types of kickbacks in order to boost profits. For example, he would offer discounted rent at his sober homes, to patients who attended therapy sessions he could bill insurers for. If a patient agreed to attend one therapy session per week-day, rent was totally free. He also offered cash kickbacks for those who brought in new patients.
In the case of Fuller, he would go out to places where addicts were known to be found, he would bribe motel receptionists to tip him about the presence of addicts, and would then bribe targets with drugs and alcoholic drinks to convince them to check into Snyder’s sober homes.
Snyder has been released on a $250,000 bail. Bail for Fuller has been set at $200,000. As several former employees of Snyder have provided evidence against the pair, and given Fuller’s prior offenses, it is unlikely that the defendants will be able to dodge a conviction.
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