FBI Raids Culver Company Offices
June 15, 2017
According to the FBI they executed multiple sealed search warrants at several Sovereign Health locations on Tuesday, along with state and local officials The raids took place at the Culver City Offices on Bristol Parkway and the company’s headquarters in San Clemente. Employees of other business in the office tower marveled at the attention and excitement of the day as officers descended on the facility. Calls to the Culver City office said they were open for business today. The U.S. Dept. of Justice would not comment on what information the FBI was seeking. According to the Orange County Register 40 federal agents were involved in the raid at Sovereign Health in San Clemente. Sovereign has addiction treatment centers in San Clemente, Culver City, Palm Desert and El Cajon as well as Arizona, Texas, Utah and Florida. The FBI also raided a home on Silver Leaf Drive in San Juan Capistrano reportedly owned by Sovereign’s CEO. According to the Register “The recovery industry has come under fire of late for widespread insurance fraud, patient dumping and poor quality of care. Though many legitimate operators remain in the industry, long-time rehab consultants complain that recent changes in federal health care and lack of oversight by state and federal agencies are making it tougher for rehab companies to turn an honest profit. They say “body brokering,” in which drug addicted patients are wooed to specific rehab centers with promises of cash payments, free health care and luxurious accommodations, has become increasingly common.”Sovereign has not been accused of illegal practices. Court records show that Sovereign sued several patients who failed to pay their bills. The suits show that Sovereign charged $3,410 per day for residential mental health treatment; $2,640 per day for partial mental health treatment; $1,980 per day for intensive outpatient mental health; and $1,200 per urine analysis. One residential patient had 15 urine tests in a single month, resulting in a bill that exceeded $100,000. Sovereign CEO Tonmoy Sharma had his license revoked in the United Kingdom for conduct deemed dishonest, unprofessional and misleading, according to documents from the General Medical Council of the UK, which licenses physicians there.
Sharma still has his license in India. David Skonezny, who has served on the board of directors for California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals, and is now a consultant in the treatment industry stated, “I’m heartened at the idea that the feds are taking a look at the potential for wrongdoing,”“If Sovereign Health has been committing any of the offenses that have been talked about I hope the feds get to the bottom of it. That will put the industry on notice, and hopefully curb some of the practices going on. But it also creates a sense of concern and fear for me. If outside enforcement comes and begins to punish the wrongdoers, the industry is going to lose the autonomy it needs to do its job well.”Skonezny is currently working on a uniform code of ethics.