Possible plea deal in the works for Delray Beach sober home operator Eric Snyder

A preliminary hearing in federal court  for  Eric Snyder, owner and operator of a Delray Beach drug treatment center and sober home raided by the FBI in December 2014, has been delayed for 30 days to give attorneys time to “consider whether or not a pre-indictment resolution” can be worked out.

Snyder was arrested on July 11 and charged with fraudulently billing insurance companies for $58.2 million over nearly five years, according to court records.

Snyder, 30, and Christopher Fuller, 32, described in a 26-page federal complaint as a “junkie hunter” hired by Snyder, were charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The document described how Snyder bribed patients with airline tickets, cash, rent and visits to strip clubs. Fuller trolled AA meetings and “crack” motels to find patients, the complaint said.

The court hearing was reschedule to Oct. 16.

Musclebound millionaire: The Palm Beach Post’s story on Eric Snyder

Snyder Snyder is one of the many drug treatment operators exposed in a 2-1/2 year-long Palm Beach Post investigation that revealed the profits to be made from urine-screening in the county’s thriving but corrupt sober home industry.

Snyder’s treatment center, Real Life Recovery, and sober home, Halfway There, raked in more than $18 million from the $58.2 million in fraudulent claims to insurance companies, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Aetna, Cigna and Humana for urine drug tests and “bogus” treatment, according to court documents.

The profits have attracted the attention of the Internal Revenue Service. In March, the IRS filed a lien, saying Snyder owed $2 million in back income taxes.

Shortly after his arrest, Snyder’s attorney, Bruce Zimet, said Snyder did not “intentionally” participate in fraud.

“Eric has personally been involved in saving many, many lives and making a difference in many other lives of those suffering from addiction,” Zimet said.

 

 

After 30 corruption arrests, how many drug rehabs are left?

Recently released data from the Department of Children and Families disproves claims that the crackdown on corruption in south Florida’s drug treatment industry has caused a sharp decline in the number of treatment providers.

According to a licensing report provided to the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force at a meeting last week, as of Aug. 1 there were 207 licensed treatment providers in Palm Beach County – up 1 from the 206 providers licensed a year ago.

»»Latest stories on sober homes and addiction treatment

There are another 127 prospective treatment providers in Southeast Florida awaiting licenses, the data show. However, the west coast of Florida has even more applications – 166.

“That means a lot of the industry is heading to the southwest coast of Florida,” said Chief Assistant State Attorney Al Johnson – head the county’s Sober Home Task Force – at the task force meeting.

Overall, there are 3,546 drug treatment providers in the state – up from 3,230 providers in 2016.

The data also show that 140 providers in southeast Florida, including Broward and Miami-Dade counties have voluntarily closed their doors. Another 16 providers were shut down when their licenses were revoked, according to the data.

The Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force has made more than 30 arrests since it began investigating corruption in the billion-dollar sober home industry in south Florida. A federal task force has made 9 arrests.