BREAKING: Amanda LaFrance, 25, came to Florida three years ago to get clean and found herself in court on Saturday facing 13 counts of brokering other addicts with insurance to Whole Life Recovery, a treatment center in Boynton Beach whose owner and operator faces charges of paying kickbacks for clients.
LaFrance is also the first woman to be charged in the Sober Home Task Force’s crackdown on patient brokering in the sober home business. All eight arrests stem from the business practices Whole Life Recovery.
According to the arrest affidavit, LaFrance deposited $6,750 in 13 checks from Whole Life Recovery for case management services. Deon Hill, her business partner and father of her 6-month-old daughter, deposited a check for $525 from the treatment center.
Hill, 50, has not been charged but is currently being held without bond at the Palm Beach County Detention Center on an unrelated armed robbery charge.
LaFrance’s public defender asked that LaFrance be released on her own recognizance or supervised release because she has no criminal history. Her mother, Lorraine Rucki, asked that she be allowed to take her daughter back to New Jersey for treatment or to place her in detox in Palm Beach county.
Assistant State Attorney Justin Chapman argued that LaFrance should be held on the recommended bail: $39,000 – $3,000 for each of the 13 counts.
“We are dealing with a very vulnerable population,” Chapman said. “They are being herded like cattle basically.”
However, she will remain in jail until she can prove that the money that would be used to post her bail did not come from illegal activities.
LaFrance’s monther, Lorraine Rucki, testified that her daughter relapsed, is homeless, has no job and is already experience withdrawal symptoms in jail.
Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, who created the task force in July with $275,000 from the legislature, said there will be more arrests.
“The heroin crisis is fueled by bad actors in the treatment industry,” Aronberg said. “Our task force will continue to target sober homes that violate Florida Law and jeopardize their residents safety.”
MORE DETAILS TO FOLLOW.