WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (WPTV) -- A former sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to five years in prison for stealing $50,000 from a children’s charity and paying kickbacks to lure patients into a drug treatment center he ran in West Palm Beach.
A judge issued the sentence Tuesday after 49-year-old Robert “Bobby” Simeone pleaded guilty to 30 felony charges related to three cases. The former Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy was arrested in February. Prosecutors dropped 27 felony counts.
Evidence showed that Simeone paid two sober home operators to bring in patients to his center, prosecutors said. In Florida, it is illegal offer or pay any commission, kickback or bribe to promote the referral of patients to or from a health care provider.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that financial crimes investigators reviewed bank accounts tied to Simeone and his wife, and Children of Wounded Warriors, a nonprofit in Boynton Beach. Court records show detectives found $73,556 in deposits were made to the charity between 2015 and 2019, and $49,037 in transfers from the charity were deposited into Simeone’s personal and business accounts.
Simeone was convicted of 26 counts including patient brokering, conspiracy to commit patient brokering, and organized scheme to defraud, money laundering and grand theft.