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Mayes announces largest indictment over fake sober living homes in Arizona

Ten people were indicted by a grand jury on felony charges including patient brokering following a sober-living homes sting operation, the Arizona Attorney General’s office announced on Wednesday. 

Fraudulent “sober living homes” have been operating in Arizona for years. They sign up patients on the American Indian Health Plan, then hold them in facilities without treatment.

According to Native American communities, people have been kidnapped and imprisoned in these homes, and some have even died. 

The people running the homes bill Arizona’s Medicaid program for services they don’t provide. Attorney General Kris Mayes estimates the scam has cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars. 

Authorities say the latest defendants agreed to send 75 patients to a fake facility, thinking they would collect $300 per person each week. But investigators from the Attorney General’s Office and from Arizona’s Medicaid program were waiting for them.

In May, Gov. Katie Hobbs and Mayes announced that they would take aggressive action on the sober living homes issue. 

They blamed former Republican Gov. Doug Ducey and his administration for not addressing the problem, which members of his administration have said is untrue. 

The 10 defendants are the largest group indicted for these crimes by the Mayes administration so far. Their charges include conspiracy, illegal control of an enterprise and consideration for referral of a client, patient or customer.

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Camryn Sanchez is a field correspondent at KJZZ covering everything to do with state politics.