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CFO Jimmy Patronis Recognizes Palm Beach Fraud Detective Scott Utecht for Outstanding Service


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – During Tuesday’s meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis honored Department of Financial Services Detective Scott Utecht as a recent recipient of the United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida’s Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award. Detective Utecht’s expertise and dedication led to the successful conviction of South Florida sober home operator Kenneth Chatman in a high-profile fraud case.

CFO Patronis said, “Sober homes claim to be a place of refuge for recently recovering addicts, but for many of them, nothing could be further from the truth. Many of these facilities do nothing more than siphon a patient’s insurance benefits until there’s nothing more to take, only to return these vulnerable people to the streets from which they came. I am proud of Detective Utecht’s unending dedication to stopping these activities in our state.”
Detective Utecht began his career with the Department’s Bureau of Insurance Fraud in June 2015, after retiring from a decorated 28-year career with the West Palm Beach Police Department, where he served as lead investigator within the Economic Crimes Unit. Detective Utecht’s years of economic crime investigative expertise made him a sought-after candidate for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Great Palm Beach Healthcare Task Force. In this role, Detective Utecht represents the Department while working side-by-side with the FBI investigating healthcare fraud within the addiction treatment industry.
As a Task Force Officer assigned to United States v. Kenneth Chatman, a high-profile case targeting an unscrupulous sober home operator, Detective Utecht conducted numerous witness and suspect interviews, directed hours of surveillance and testified in several criminal detention hearings. As of today, each of the 11 indicted defendants in this case have been convicted.
Kenneth Chatman was sentenced to 27.5 years in federal prison.
This is the first known United States case in which a defendant was charged and convicted of health care fraud and human trafficking, and it is also one of the first federal cases combating perpetrators known to exploit the addiction recovery industry.
The Department of Financial Services is the state of Florida’s lead investigative agency for insurance and workers’ compensation fraud, fire and arson investigations, and the theft or misuse of state funds. To report suspected fraud, call the Department’s toll-free Fraud Tip Hotline at 1-800-378-0445.


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