Sovereign Health runs Afoul of the FBI in Culver City
The head of Sovereign Health, a company that provides mental health treatment and drug rehabilitation for adult patients, spoke out sharply against government raids on some of its facilities earlier in the week. These included raids at Sovereign rehabilitation centers in San Clemente, Culver City, and Palm Desert as well as on the CEO’s San Juan Capistrano home.
According to Sovereign CEO Tommy Sharma “the way they executed these search warrants was a disgrace. All they had to do was tell our senior management what they needed and we would have gladly complied. We have nothing to hide. Instead, they burst into our facilities, upsetting patients who are already fragile and dealing with trauma. They threatened our unarmed staff at gunpoint. And they didn’t even seem to know why they had busted into our facilities.”
Sharma went on to say that agents “completely bypassed our accounting and financial staff, and instead, trained weapons on employees who perform duties such as patient intake. They snatched away the laptops of the writers who create content for our websites, and tried to break down the door of a room where a patient was receiving neuro-feedback, scaring them to death. They also searched my home and took medical books, but bypassed a large safe, which I offered the combination. This whole thing was ridiculous, so Mickey Mouse.”
Federal agents have not revealed why the raids took place or the nature of the investigation, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said that the search was in connection with “allegations of criminal activity.” Though no arrests were made during the operation on Tuesday, Eimiller stated that the search warrants and affidavits were sealed and she could not comment further.
Sovereign released a statement stating that the investigation was a result of “alleged financial and other irregularities.”
Company spokesman Haroon Ahmad claimed that Sovereign and other behavioral health treatment centers are under attack from those who want to keep treatment facilities out of residential neighborhoods.
He states, “we call it NIMBY-ism –Not in My Backyard—when people try to legislate treatment out of existence. The media is constantly reporting on the opioid epidemic and the nationwide shortage of available beds, yet local politicians and others have mobilized to push treatment facilities out of neighborhoods. We’ve been joining the San Clemente public in protesting against the NIMBY mentality. This and our legal push back against the authorities make us a target.”
The Sovereign Health treatment center in Culver City is located on 6167 Bristol Pkwy, which is a part of the Culver City Real Estate area. Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, has never heard of any problems between the Culver City neighborhood and the facility.
The raid, which took place on Tuesday, was the second time in the last six months that Sovereign encountered armed government agents. In January an armed person claimed to be from the California Department of Social Services was found wandering around the grounds of the San Clemente facility. Sovereign filed a formal complaint against the director of the state Community Care Licensing Division because the person refused to identify himself. The incident is still under investigation.
Sharma contends that the company will not be “letting the retaliatory actions of bullies get in the way of the important business of providing top-notch care for our patients with addiction and mental health issues. We know what is behind this pattern of harassment and strong-armed tactics. We will not be intimidated and we will prevail.”
Though Sovereign Health is headquartered in California, they also have treatment centers in Arizona, Florida, Texas, and Utah. Martin Feinberg, Realtor, hopes the situation can be resolved quickly and to the benefit of all involved.