US Attorney: Former nursing home execs motivated by “Unbridled Greed”
Four former executives at a company that owns a number of senior living communities in Indiana and Kentucky are facing federal charges.
American Senior Communities owns nearly 100 nursing and rehabilitation facilities in both states, including Swiss Villa Nursing and Rehabilitation in Vevay and Arbor Grove Village in Greensburg.
In a press conference Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Tim Horty said the executives, including former CEO James Burkhart, have been indicted by a federal grand jury on 32 combined counts of money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud.
“(They) engaged in a six-year scheme which was characterized by unbridled greed, deceit and theft from programs we all count on to care for the elderly, the poor, the disabled and the weak,” Horty said.
Horty says Burkhart along with former chief operating officer Daniel Benson, friend Steven Ganote, and James’ brother Joshua Burkhart used kickbacks from American Senior Community vendors to pay for their scheme. Joshua Burkhart worked for the accounting firm which ASC used to falsify and inflate costs of goods and services, steal discounts and rebates, and hide kickbacks.
Horty says the four received over $16 million that they used for their own personal luxuries, including private planes, vacation homes, and jewelry. The scheme, which ranged from 2009 through most of 2015, hurt taxpayers because most of the funds would be used for Medicare and Medicaid purposes.
The four could spend up to 20 years in prison if convicted. James Burkhart, Benson and Ganote also face an additional five years each for allegedly violating the Anti-Kickback Statute.
Burkhart and Benson were fired last September after federal investigators served search warrants at his home and the American Senior Communities headquarters in Indianapolis.
In a statement, American Senior Communities said it was the victim of a “betrayal of trust” and has emerged as a stronger, more vital organization.”
“American Senior Communities is grateful to the United States Attorney’s Office and the federal agencies whose hard work and dedication resulted in today’s indictment. ASC has actively cooperated in this investigation and will continue to cooperate until the prosecutions are concluded,” the statement read.