Four men — including three from Orange County — were arrested Thursday in connection with a federal crackdown on what prosecutors say was a kickback scheme related to substance abuse treatment center patient referrals.
The Sober Homes Initiative has led to criminal charges against 10 defendants over the past 10 months.
“The suspects in this case specifically targeted vulnerable individuals in recovery and sold them as a commodity with no concern for their health or well-being,” California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said. “Receiving kickbacks for patient referrals endangers lives and has no place in our health care system.”
U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison said, “These corrupt individuals pay illegal kickbacks to obtain insured patients whose health plans pay generous benefits intended to cover legitimate treatments and tests. While many recovery facilities offer much-needed services to addicts, those targeted in this sweep take advantage of our nation’s opioid crisis by fueling a patient-selling network more interested in generating profits than giving help to vulnerable people.”
Truvida Recovery owners Nick Roshdieh, 51, of Aliso Viejo, and Vincent Bindi, 66, of Laguna Niguel, were taken into custody Thursday on charges in an indictment alleging a conspiracy involving kickbacks for referrals to sober living facilities.
Also arrested Thursday was Donald Vawter, 30, of Rancho Santa Margarita, a Truvida employee who was charged with conspiring to pay and receive kickbacks in the alleged scheme.
Patient recruiter Michael Hislop, 56, of Boston, was also arrested on charges in the Truvida indictment.
Casey Mahoney, 45, of Los Angeles, and Joseph Parkinson, 32, formerly of Costa Mesa, were indicted in October in a multimillion-dollar alleged kickback scheme at Healing Path Detox LLC and Get Real Recovery Inc. facilities.
Darius Moore, 28, formerly of Santa Ana, pleaded guilty Dec. 10 to conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for referrals to substance abuse treatment facilities. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 13.
Adrian Gonzalez, 37, of Laguna Hills pleaded guilty Aug. 6 to paying kickbacks for referrals and is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 28.
Dorian Ballough, 30, formerly of Costa Mesa, pleaded guilty to a kickback scheme Nov. 12 and is scheduled to be sentenced April 8.
Kyle Reed, 29, formerly of Huntington Beach, pleaded guilty Nov. 19 in a kickback scheme and was scheduled to be sentenced May 6.