Sovereign Health CEO Tonmoy Sharma was left shaking his head in June 2017 following the raids that federal and state authorities had conducted on the healthcare provider’s treatment facilities in California. Agents swooped down on Sovereign offices in Culver City, Palm Desert, and San Clemente, and used force to gain their way in, but no arrests were made.
The agents had intended to serve warrants that alleged financial and other irregularities, but according to Dr. Sharma, the use of “shock and awe” during the operations amounted to an outright exaggeration. He made clear that Sovereign would surely cooperate with authorities, so the harassment that the raiding parties carried out was totally uncalled for.
The forceful raid left Sovereign treatment personnel, and patients in shock, which Dr. Sharma said could have been avoided had the deployed agents performed their duties with minimum respect and courtesy.
Retaliatory Acts By Jack-Booted Thugs
Dr. Sharma recalled that the raids conducted appeared directionless, thus leading to the confusion that ensued when the federal operatives barged in. The Sovereign CEO said: “They didn’t even seem to know why they had busted into our facilities.”
Whether they planned it or not, the raiding party sowed fear among Sovereign employees and patients when force and violence were employed. Dr. Sharma said the brutish conduct seen during the raids was just plain unnecessary.
“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,” he explained.
Dr. Sharma scored the fact that agents entered the Sovereign premises in full display of their firearms, lamenting: “They threatened our unarmed staff at gunpoint.”
Sovereign drew attention to the glaring indicators that would suggest the raid was carried out mainly to harass and intimidate. The authorities confiscated electronic devices and documents that, according to Dr. Sharma, do not contain the information that would support the allegation of wrongdoings.
Interestingly, some agents acted strangely like giving out business cards with crossed-out contact numbers and replaced by hastily added new contact information. The raid also saw the handing of papers to patients inside the facilities that seemed to be promoting other behavioral care treatment centers.
It was quite apparent, Dr. Sharma stressed, that the whole show was put in motion to hurt Sovereign’s business. He added: “We know what is behind this pattern of harassment and strong-armed tactics. We will not be intimidated, and we will prevail.”
The Dark Forces Behind The Campaign Of Intimidation
Seth Zajac, Sovereign’s general counsel, revealed the raid was in retaliation for the lawsuit filed by Sovereign against Health Net. The insurer, a subsidiary of Centene Corp., filed a countersuit. According to Zajac, the legal documents supporting Health Net’s lawsuit contain similarities with the papers served during the FBI raid.
“Our impression is that the officials who showed up today are acting in the interests of privately-held insurance giants, and not in the interest of the public good,” said the Sovereign lawyer.
Sovereign admitted the raids and other law enforcement actions directed at the care provider’s business operations proved damaging. However, Sovereign’s disrupted business also interrupted the care of people who were struggling with substance use and mental health issues.