James Burkhart, the former CEO of American Senior Communities (ASC), Indiana’s largest nursing home chain, has just been sentenced to nearly 10 years in federal prison.
“Obsessed with Money”
From 2009 – 2015, Burkhart and several other high-ranking ASC executives engaged in a moneymaking scheme that included kickbacks and overcharging vendors, charges to which Burkhart pled guilty. Burkhart and his associates made $19.4 million during that time period, with $10 million taken from Indiana’s public health system.
Prosecutors painted the picture of a man obsessed with living the high life, noting that a government raid of his home in 2015 turned up $1 million cash, gold bars, diamonds, watches, and other extravagant jewelry. Prosecutors also noted that Burkhart had flown on private planes more than 150 times in the past 6 years, saying “The evidence shows a man absolutely obsessed with money.”
The scheme was multi-layered, with some vendors paying a client fee just for being able to provide goods and services to ASC. Vendors didn’t seem bothered by the cost of doing business, likely due to the fact that ASC owns 94 nursing homes, assisted living and rehab facilities in Indiana, the most of any nursing home chain in the state. Other vendors agreed to send bills to ASC that charged more for their products and services (whether all were aware of the fraud is unknown). Burkhart and his crew paid the true charges with ASC funds and kept the overcharge in several bank accounts owned by Burkhart. ASC is said to have been unaware of the criminal activity by its executives and has filed a civil suit against Burkhart and others.
During sentencing, Burkhart’s defense attorneys asked that his record of providing facilities that delivered on their promises to take care of residents be considered. They pointed out that all of the services and products he ordered from vendors were used for ASC residents and patients.
Nursing Homes Who Conceal Income and Assets
Nursing homes are no stranger to attracting greedy, criminally-minded executives and employees. The public is constantly subjected to news of employees stealing and selling drugs from nursing homes, of executives swindling money through laundering and kickback schemes with vendors, and of Medicare and Medicaid fraud through overbilling.
While not necessarily illegal, a common practice among nursing home operators involves filtering money through a confusing web of shell companies. When it comes time to disclose assets in nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits, nursing homes often try to claim they simply do not have the money to pay. With over 25 years of forcing nursing homes to accept responsibility and pay for their actions, the nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys of Levin & Perconti have extensive experience successfully navigating the complicated maze of companies set up by nursing homes to protect themselves from having to pay.
If someone you love has been abused or neglected in a nursing home, let us help you get justice. Contact our attorneys now for a FREE consultation by phone: (312) 332-2872 or by filling out our online case evaluation form.