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Navajo Nation attorney general: Hundreds rescued from sober living scheme in Arizona

The attorney general for the Navajo Nation said Monday that nearly 300 victims have been found of a sober living home scheme in Arizona that targeted Native Americans.

Attorney General Ethel Branch described an overwhelmed state-run call in system that left people seeking help on hold, sometimes for more than 45 minutes. She announced a new hotline number 1-855 HELP-ORB and a new website, operationrainbowbridge.com

Branch also called on the public to help.

"We are relying on the public to identify when they see that there’s potentially a home that’s one of these privately run facilities or when there’s displacement that they’re observing in real time," she said.

The Medicaid scam targeted people seeking treatment to achieve sobriety and cashed in on their dependency with the state’s AHCCCS program promising help that never came. Some of those who checked in had to escape only to find themselves in the Phoenix area, hundreds of miles from home. 

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.