A Delray Beach man gave more than $463,000 in kickbacks to sober home operators for steering urine tests to the lab, according to arrest documents.
Marc Alejandro Teruel, 31, of Delray Beach, was booked Wednesday at the Palm Beach County Jail, charged with 30 violations of the patient brokering law. Records show he left jail early Thursday after posting $90,000 bail. A voice mail left on a phone listed for Teruel in the police report was not returned, and court records did not list the name of his defense attorney.
The urine of drug addicts with insurance can be worth millions of dollars to the operators of labs, sober homes and treatment centers. A Palm Beach Post investigation found that insurance companies often are billed as much as $5,000 for a single urine drug screen. Although insurance companies pay only a portion of that — between $1,500 and $2,000 —addicts can be tested three or more times a week.
Teruel’s arrest came via Delray Beach and Palm Beach Gardens police, through the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Sober Homes Task Force, and is the latest of several stemming from the February 2017 arrest of James Tomasso.
In February 2017, the task force filed patient-brokering charges against Tomasso, then 57, of Boca Raton, the owner and director of Global Recovery Resources and who operated treatment centers in Boca Raton, Greenacres and Delray Beach.
The counts alleged he paid for referrals to those treatment centers run by his common-law wife. Tomasso pleaded guilty to 21 counts of patient brokering in September 2017 and was sentenced to 18 months.
According to Teruel’s arrest report from Palm Beach Gardens police, Tomasso told investigators Teruel was a rep for Reliance Laboratory Testing in Sunrise, in Broward County. Tomasso said he signed a deal in October 2016 to pay $400 apiece for every referral for a person’s urine that he supplied. He said Teruel would give him a cut of his Reliance commission. Tomasso said Teruel’s wife would pick up the urine collections, and specimen pickup logs, at Global.
The report said Teruel gave Tomasso five checks between October 12, 2016, and Jan. 11, 2017, totaling $363,848.
Another person told the task force in August 2018 that he was the front desk clerk for Tomasso and later became a lab rep for Teruel. Bank records showed the person wrote the owner of a Boynton Beach-area sober home 25 checks between Nov. 28. 2016, and May 12, 2017, totaling $100,480. The clerk-turned-rep told investigators he got a cut of Teruel’s fees and split that 50-50 with the sober home operator. That owner, reached by investigators, denied involvement.
The Palm Beach Post is not naming Teruel’s wife, the man who repped for Teruel, or the owner of the Boynton Beach sober home, because none of the three have been criminally charged.