The developer of Banyan Cay Resort and Club in West Palm Beach was charged in connection with a $65 million national healthcare fraud.
Whether this spells trouble for the mega-project remains unclear.
Domenic Gatto faces one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud in connection to an alleged scheme to place unnecessary orders for orthotic braces for Medicare beneficiaries, The Palm Beach Post reported.
Gatto, who was one of five charged, has surrendered. But he entered no plea and has not been formally indicted. The 46-year-old Palm Beach Gardens resident appeared in front of a federal magistrate in New Jersey via video from the West Palm Beach federal courthouse.
The Justice Department alleges that as an owner-operator of an orthotic brace supplier, Gatto arranged for orders to be placed with suppliers of the medical equipment in New Jersey and Florida. He paid co-conspirators kickbacks and bribes “for each federal healthcare beneficiary for whom orthotic brace orders were sold to orthotic brace suppliers to be billed to … federal and private healthcare benefit programs,” according to the Justice Department.
Gatto’s attorney, Seth Levine, told The Post the accusations are “meritless” and will be disputed in court.
The long-delayed Banyan Cay will include a luxury hotel that was expected to be completed three years ago, The Post reported. Aside from construction stops and starts, the project also changed hotel flags from a Noble House to a Hyatt Destination Hotels.
The project also is planned to have a 170-unit, high-end condominium tower and 150 single-family homes. An 18-hole, Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course already opened.
Gatto, through affiliate Banyan Cay Development, in 2015 paid $26 million for the 250-acre former President Country Club golf course development site off Congress Avenue and east of I-95.
Gatto scored a $61 million hotel construction loan for the project in 2018.
Real estate attorneys and an anonymous source told The Post it’s unlikely the criminal charge will impact the financing, although it could give lender Calmwater Capital qualms about its affiliation with Gatto.
[The Palm Beach Post] – Lidia Dinkova