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Legal Fallout For Those Involved In Compass Detox Fraud Case


In July 2022, a doctor from Miami Lakes was sentenced to 54 months in prison for his role in the healthcare fraud committed at Compass Detox, an addiction treatment facility in Bal Harbour. He and the owners of the facilities, as well as the attorney acting for the facility’s owners, face prison time for “unlawfully bill[ing]” for $112 million in “medically unnecessary” addiction treatments, as well as treatments that were prescribed but never administered. In addition, patients of Compass Detox apparently intend to seek civil damages against the facility and those associated with it. If you have gone through a similar experience, you have the right to seek damages yourself.

Criminal & Negligent Acts

Florida’s addiction and substance abuse treatment industry is a large player in the state’s economy, and while its legitimate clinics have saved thousands of lives, there have been a series of illegitimate businesses that seem to only exist to cause pain and suffering to the most vulnerable class of patients. Many unscrupulous businesspeople have opened treatment facilities, only to engage in criminal and dangerous conduct. Treatment centers are considered medical facilities if they claim to provide certain types of medical care, and thus, they owe the same duty of care to their patients that a doctor or hospital would owe. Failure to provide it can be both criminal and negligent.

The owners of Compass Detox, for example, engaged in what Florida law calls “patient brokering,” where third party ‘recruiters’ offered incentives to patients to come to their facility and stay there while not actually receiving any kind of ‘treatment.’ They also provided a sedating “Comfort Drink” to patients, keeping them from leaving voluntarily. If no treatment is happening, this is negligent, creating a civil cause of action – but in addition, the act of patient brokering is a crime under Florida law, for which the brothers were eventually convicted (among other offenses).

You Can File Suit

If you have been through a “treatment center” of this caliber and received no actual treatment, you may also be asked to testify against them if state’s attorneys determine that a crime has been committed. However, you will also likely have the right to file suit against the facility for the negligence you experienced during your time there – if the facility failed to properly treat you, they failed to exercise the duty of care that they are obligated to exercise while doing business as a treatment center. You have the right to seek money damages if you have suffered harm as a result of the facility’s actions.

Be aware that contrary to a common misconception, it is possible to file a civil case against someone who also faces criminal proceedings – the Fifth Amendment right against double jeopardy does not apply if one proceeding is in civil court and another is in criminal court; each is seen as separate. You may be asked to wait on filing suit until the criminal proceeding is concluded, but if this is so, the court will usually toll the statute of limitations (that is, it will prevent the statute of limitations from expiring even though it normally would have).

Contact A Tampa Substance Abuse Treatment Center Attorney

While the criminal sentences in the Compass Detox affair have ranged from 13 months to nearly 15 years, none of them precludes a possible civil case against the defendants for their alleged negligence. If you have had a similar experience at a facility that did not properly treat you, contacting a Tampa treatment center negligence attorney may be a good first step toward addressing any questions or concerns about a possible case. The Rinaldo Law Group has experience in these matters, and we are ready to try and put our knowledge to work for you. Call us today for a free consultation.



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