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John P. Hanley, who owned a Boca Raton lab, pleaded guilty Wednesday to cutting checks to obtain urine samples from recovering addicts in the fall of 2016.
Circuit Judge Rosemarie Scher sentenced Hanley, 54, to five years of probation and ordered him to pay a $21,000 fine.
Investigators uncovered a scheme where the owners of two sober homes, also called halfway houses, sent residents to a substance-abuse treatment facility in Delray Beach. That center then steered all patient urine specimens to Hanley’s AML Diagnostics, Inc., firm, at 154 N.W. 15th Street.
Urine tests are lucrative for laboratories, which obtain sizable payments from health insurance companies.
Arrest records show Hanley paid $183,043 to the sober-home operators as part of this illegal arrangement.
Hanley pleaded guilty to four counts of patient brokering and one misdemeanor financial crime. Only the misdemeanor will appear on his record. As part of the agreement, prosecutor J.D. Small dropped one count of conspiracy to commit patient brokering, a charge punishable by up to five years in prison.
Defense attorney Ron Herman said it was a fair outcome for a client who wound up in the crosshairs of Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg’s Sober Homes Task Force.
“He was involved with some players who made a few bad decisions,” Herman said of Hanley. “This matter resolved favorably for him with no felony conviction and allows him to put this issue behind him.”
The task force has spent the past five years targeting offenders of Florida’s patient-brokering law. It is a crime for anyone to offer or pay any commission, kickback, or bribe to promote the referral of patients to or from a health care provider. Authorities have made 120 arrests, resulting in more than 80 convictions so far.
As part of Hanley’s plea deal, he is forbidden from holding jobs that have anything to do with substance-abuse treatment, clinical-lab testing, and addiction-recovery housing.