The CEO/president of the Serenity Ranch Recovery network was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison Friday following a six-week trial in Fort Lauderdale federal court where he was convicted of health care fraud, money laundering, and other crimes.
Sebastian Ahmed, 42, of Delray Beach, was found guilty of fraudulently billing private insurance companies for an estimated $38 million in claims while the addicts in his treatment centers were neglected. His sentence includes repaying more than $4 million in restitution, prosecutors said.
According to evidence submitted during the trial, government investigators determined Ahmed’s clinics were reimbursed more than $6 million in payments for substance abuse treatments patients never received.
Most of the patients were in their twenties and were addicted to opioids and other drugs. Many of the patients remained on their parents' private insurance plans up to age 26.
The patients lived in so-called sober homes in Davie, Southwest Ranches, Hollywood and Pompano Beach. None of the facilities were certified by the Florida Department of Children and Families as community housing for substance abuse treatment programs, prosecutors said.
Sebastian Ahmed and his younger brother Ali were the co-owners of Jacob’s Well, Medi MD and Arnica Health. The three companies — under the name Serenity Ranch — operated out of the same office building in Davie.
Ali Ahmed, 38, was sentenced Jan. 21, 2019, to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to commit mail fraud in a related case.
Hector Efrain Alvarez, 49, and Mauren Morel, 45 — the clinical directors at two of the facilities — were also charged and pled guilty in connection with the fraud. Alvarez and Morel each received sentences of nearly three years in prison after testifying at trial against Sebastian Ahmed.
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