The OC home of the CEO of a closed rehab chain is now a detox center – NBC Los Angeles
The OC home of the CEO of a closed rehab chain is now a detox center – NBC Los Angeles

Orange County-based Sovereign Health was once one of the largest rehabilitation and behavioral health companies in the country. But the business was shut down in 2018 after an FBI raid and multiple lawsuits.

Now, Sovereign CEO Thonmoy Sharma’s multimillion-dollar home operates as a licensed residential treatment facility.

Dana Shores Recovery in San Juan Capistrano promises “expert and private addiction and mental health recovery” on its website. But nowhere is the owner of the home identified as Tonmoy Sharma, who lost his UK medical license in 2008 and then set up shop in California as Sovereign Health, running a chain of medical facilities.

“We serve 15,000 patients, not all of them will be happy,” said Tonmoy Sharma

This is what he told the I-team in 2017.

But the business closed about a year after an FBI raid that included Sovereign’s medical facilities, its headquarters in San Clemente and Tonmoy Sharma’s home in San Juan Capistrano.

It was really kind of terrifying … (FBI action) is something you see on TV. You never think this will happen in your neighborhood.

Neighbor of Tonmoy Sharma

“It was really kind of terrifying,” a neighbor of Sharma’s told the I-team. “It’s something you see on TV. You never think it’s going to happen in your neighborhood.”

Another neighbor told us she came home and saw an FBI raid.

“I asked them if I should be worried,” she said. “They couldn’t give me any information.”

These neighbors have asked that we withhold their identities. Last month, they discovered that Sharma’s home was now operating around the clock as a detox and mental health center.

“I was stunned,” said one neighbor. “Even though I knew who Sharma was, even though I knew his history, this was his primary residence.”

“This has all happened in the last few weeks, with what appears to be a full-fledged business in a residential community,” another neighbor said. “I think all the neighbors are really concerned.”

According to records filed with the Secretary of State, the LLC owns Dana Shores Recovery. The CEO is listed as Charles Homan. And in fact, that’s who answered the door when the I-Team knocked to find out more about the business. Hochman did not want to speak on camera, but during a nearly 10-minute conversation, he repeatedly said he had no idea who Tonmoy Sharma was.

Department of Health Services (DHCS) documents obtained by the I-Team show Hohman pays $10,000 a month in rent to Galahad Asset Management and Trust. And although there is no mention of Tonmoy Sharma, Galahad Asset Management is an LLC managed by Sharma.

How is it that the state of California, knowing all it knows about Tonmoy Sharma and his history with Sovereign Health, allows him to continue to profit from a business that is related to addiction treatment or mental health?

Laurie Girand, Advocates for Responsible Medicine

As for Charles Homan, the I-Team has learned that as of 2018, Homan has been involved in ongoing litigation with the city of Montclair over his business, Green Lotus Entertainment, which operates an illegal marijuana dispensary called Secret Garden in the city. Montclair’s municipal code prohibits such dispensaries, but Green Lotus is suing challenging that.

Hohman’s new state-licensed business, Dana Shores Recovery, promises treatments, including for “marijuana addiction.” And while it advertises a “diverse team of therapists, counselors and medical staff,” there are no names of professionals mentioned on the site at all.

A search of Dana Shores Recovery in a public DHCS database shows only that it is licensed and certified to treat six residents. The I-Team found no wrongdoing for Dana Shores. But its location is troubling to some.

“How is it that the state of California, knowing all it knows about Tonmoy Sharma and his history with Sovereign Health, allows him to continue to profit from addiction treatment or mental health businesses?” Lori Girand asked.

Giran helped found Advocates for Responsible Treatment after a sovereign health facility started causing problems in her neighborhood.

“There were 19 calls in 9 months in 2016,” recalls Zhiran. “We’ve had people run from the house a couple of times.”

Assemblywoman Laurie Davis recently introduced legislation calling for more transparency about these facilities.

“It requires treatment centers that have been found guilty of a violation by the state to go ahead and post that on their website,” Davis said.

But she recognizes the challenges of managing the industry. Ultimately, she says, people seeking treatment need to have access to more answers from the state about who runs these facilities.

“Are they professionals? Are they trained? What is their experience? And they’re not doing that right now,” Davis said.

“There are virtually no standards for who can open and operate a recovery or mental health facility in the state of California,” Girand said. “Basically, there’s no fingerprinting, no criminal background check. There is nothing to protect vulnerable people from being attacked.”

Rose and Alan Nelson’s son Brandon killed himself at one of Sharma’s Sovereign Health facilities six years ago this month.

“You’re dealing with people’s lives, these are people who are vulnerable and may not make it through,” Rose Nelson said.

They say they trusted Sovereign’s promises of quality mental health services.

“That’s how it was advertised. It was all lies,” Nelson said.

The Nelsons recently settled with insurance company Sharma and Sovereign Health for $11 million. As they work to draw attention to the industry’s potential dangers, the Nelsons are sickened to learn that Sharma’s own home now operates as a treatment center.

Insurance company Healthnet recently won a $45 million fraud and racketeering verdict against Sharma and the now-defunct Sovereign Health, but that is on appeal. Efforts by the I-Team to speak with Sharma were unsuccessful.

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