AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN)- } Dozens of federal, state and local investigators swarmed the California Palms facility shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday.
A number of residents and employees at the facility on Route 46 were forced outside. One man who didn’t want to be shown said he’s from the Cleveland area and has been in treatment here the last year.
“We were in a group and they came in and our counselors were like, ‘Well, y’all can take your break.’ We go outside and they are all out here,” he said.
After years of operating as a hotel, the facility opened as a residential mental health and addiction treatment center about five years ago and has been involved in a long-running legal battle over ownership.
Law enforcement sources say investigators were looking for evidence of healthcare fraud and improper use of prescriptions. The resident said the facility has been helping people.
“It’s a good place. A lot of guys make it out of this place. It’s different. It’s clean and it ain’t no Harbor Lights. It ain’t dirty, you know what I’m saying? It’s a good wonderful place to be,” he said.
Caught in the middle of the investigation and coming to the facility for treatment, one man said he arrived Tuesday morning and was looking to check in but ultimately left a short time later. He said he would look for another facility.
Sources say no one was arrested Tuesday. The owner of the facility never returned our messages for comment.
The facility was purchased by Pender Capital for $4 million in July 2020.