The last defendant in Kenny Chatman’s drug treatment fraud scheme is expected to plead guilty, according to a Thursday court filing.
Dr. Joaquin Mendez had pleaded not guilty to federal charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit health care fraud. What he will plead guilty to is unknown; a change of plea hearing is scheduled for July 14.
He was the final holdout among eight people arrested in a multi-million-dollar drug treatment operation created by Chatman, who was sentenced to 27 1/2 years in prison in May.
Chatman, a felon who had no experience in health care before he created Reflections Treatment Center in Broward County in 2013, also trafficked his female patients. In his sober homes scattered throughout Palm Beach County, he held women captive and prostituted them.
Together, the defendants will have to pay back millions to more than a dozen insurance companies that were defrauded.
Mendez was a former medical director for the Reflections. One of the reasons he declined to take a plea deal is because his veteran defense attorney, Richard Lubin, wanted more time to evaluate the evidence.
The amount of evidence in the case was “massive” – more than he’d ever seen in his 42 years in law, Lubin wrote earlier this year. It included:
- 326 gigabytes of digital records copied onto an encrypted hard drive.
- 236,245 digital files organized into 8,307 folders
- 16,064 records in 133 files of patient data
- 1,719 patient case files with as many as 600 pages in each file
- 30 FBI taped interviews
- 225 boxes of paper documents that prosecutors said would take 6-8 weeks to copy