How Addicts Are Lured Into Sex Trafficking By Florida’s Fraudulent Rehab Centers


There were times where I was tied with
both hands to the bedpost like this. And both legs. I’m naked and he would inject
me with either heroin or he would put a crack pipe to my mouth and light it for
me. I was only 19 and I was just no longer a human being. I was property. This story starts in Florida, the rehab capital of America. It begins with Simone, a 23 year old, addicted to heroin and crack cocaine who’s been bought and sold by fraudulent halfway homes and drug treatment centers
across the state. In three years I’ve been to 245 halfway houses, what we call flop houses. “Simone” is one of thousands caught in a corrupt system of recovery
facilities that illegally make millions from addicts insurance policies. So who are the people buying and selling addicts? They call them “body snatchers” or
“junkie hunters” and many of these hunters are after something much darker. That’s Ted Padich, he’s the lead
investigator on the sober home task force in Palm Beach County. So why urine samples? Well, to
understand it we need to go back to the Affordable Healthcare Act
and the Parity Act which in 2010 required insurance policies to cover
substance abuse. After all the votes have been tallied, health insurance reform becomes law in the United States of America. Providing insurance coverage to treat addiction is
necessary, but without regulation, scam artists are taking advantage of the
system by running excessive and unnecessary tests, namely urine
analysis. For a single $30 store-bought urine test, you could get up to $1,500 in
payouts from insurance companies. Let’s do the math: if you run five tests
a week on a single addict, that’s $7,500. Six addicts at five tests a week, $45,000. That’s over 2.3 million a year and the numbers keep going up. And even after insurance companies started to catch on, these treatment centers would find other
things to charge for: STD checks, massage therapy, pregnancy tests and even DNA
testing. And there you have it, an illegal money-making operation with
multi-million dollar potential all based on how many addicts you have and how
often they pee. So that explains the insurance fraud, but there’s another
layer to the scam. “Simone” was at an AA meeting in New Jersey when she was approached. I was desperate and you could tell by how I sat in the back of the room. And this woman approached me and I told her I can’t keep a needle out
of my arm and I’m 19 years old. The first question she asked me is if I
had health insurance and she gave me the information to this treatment center
within 48 hours, I was on a plane. So, why would a treatment center pay for a free
flight to Florida? This is where the body snatchers come in. These are people paid by the treatment centers and sober homes to bring in more addicts. They can be marketers on the internet or snatchers on the ground hunting for addicts and AAA meetings or at local coffee shops. And the hub of all this: Delray Beach. This past year I stayed at a flophouse
on Swinton Ave in Delray Beach. I stayed there for over five and a half
months smoking crack and shooting heroin every single day and they just ran my
insurance. My mother still receives bills. Simone’s mother’s showed me stacks of
actual bills from these flop houses, showing up to five year urine tests a week
and charging her insurance over a hundred and fifteen thousand dollars for
a five month period. If you have a good insurance program, you’re a gold mine. What we call Body Snatchers, they are preying on the most vulnerable
people there are and they will lure them with cash, with gym memberships, drugs. To further complicate it each relapse those insurance benefits
start anew. And flop houses will actually pay you to relapse just to restart your
benefits. When I was struggling I would you know put make a Facebook status or something
like I need help, I’m gonna die. I’m scared. And I would have people reach out
to me just be like listen, you go to this treatment center, I’ll give you a little
bit of money. Zoe was first given opioids at a hospital when her appendix was
taken out at the age of 15. I remember my mom just standing over me, and I was like, I like this. I’m sorry. And then after that I kind of
dabbled a little bit, until my mom got diagnosed with cancer. She started
getting allotted and I would army crawl into her bedroom and I would just pour
about 30 or 40 of them into my hand. I was sixteen. Fully addicted to opiates
and I remember I was laying on the couch and my dad came home early from work he
said so you want to go see your mom today we don’t think she’s gonna make it
through the night I just was like nah I’m good, like, I’m gonna stay here. I was high. He came home later that night and he said
your mom died. The next day I went and used heroin for the first time. Like Simone, Zoe was lured to Florida by a marketer who profited from her referral
but the story gets more complicated. Addicts who were lured in become more
than commodities for their health insurance policies, many women become
trapped in a sex trafficking scheme that cushions the profit of some of these
owners. So this is the area that I was in and this is Northwest 13th where I was. I haven’t been back here in a while this is the park that I tried to hang myself in. My mother tried to pull me out of that house and
they didn’t know that I couldn’t leave for two reasons. Not
only am I hooked to crack cocaine but I am somebody’s property and I cannot leave. With help from her parents, Simone escaped from that flophouse and is now a student at Palm Beach State College She says her classmates have no idea that she’s one of thousands of women and
men lost in what they call “the Florida Shuffle.” We’re about to go to the Motel 6
it’s great for trafficking because the highway is right there. When women come
down here they do in fact become sort of the property and a commodity that’s to
be traded it’s like a hellhole, where they end up powerless, no options, in the hands of people who are going to trade them. There are girls that are 12-13 years
old. We hear that they’re being passed around groups of girls that are moved
from place to place treated like chattel authorities have made over 30 arrests in
just the last year. The most infamous of these cases was that of Kenny Chapman,
who pled guilty to multiple counts of money laundering, insurance fraud and sex
trafficking, Susan has represented some of his victims So he would actually
market them in houses of prostitution. He was also giving them drugs to have
them relapse so they could go to a higher level of care and he would make a
higher profit. I ended up in one of Kenny Chapman’s
houses. He had the houses so that they were not only able to be locked on the
inside, they were able to be locked on the outside. The windows had locks on
them. If we did something that he didn’t like, he’d lock in a room or he’d sell
you for dirt cheap. He would let you know that four people just ran through you for
$20 he would let you know that four men just
ran a train on you for $20 he’d let you know and he’d let you sit
there and think about that. Wouldn’t even get you high. Because now you want to get
high just to be numb. Just to not feel, to not think. I sat in a bathtub and filled
it with scorching hot water and a gallon of bleach. And I sat there just scrubbing Because I wanted it to get off. I wanted it to just go away it didn’t Chapman has been sentenced to 27 years
but Simone says they’re more like him. I’ve found hundreds of other women that
have experienced this whether it’s been through halfway house shuffling, being
sold, being used as property, being prostituted. It almost becomes like a
sisterhood. The thing is treatment can be life-saving for some addicts. And there
are good sober home owners and treatment centers actually trying to help people
but unless they’re willing to take kickbacks, many are forced to shut down.
Sometimes I would get a client in everything is fine.
You go around 2 days later, and they’re gone. I’ve had people offer me a lot
of money to bring my clients to a different treatment center.
The climate of recovery down here, it’s just not worth it –
to me – here anymore. But Florida isn’t alone. Flophouses and fraudulent
treatment centers are popping up rapidly throughout the country and the
consequence is a dramatic increase of overdoses and deaths and while law
enforcement has cracked down on treatment centers in Florida the problem
is spreading to other states. Not just the Florida shuffle anymore, it’s the
California shuffle, the Arizona shuffle the North Carolina shuffle, the New
Hampshire shuffle. It’s everywhere, I mean it is a horror story if you aren’t
paying attention if this isn’t in your town today, it will
be tomorrow. I was almost three years sober when I
relapsed a few weeks ago. I don’t want to be a statistic.
Hope I don’t end up killing myself because that’s the reality of this place. I want to see the day I turn 30. That’s what I want.
I just want to make it to 30.

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