Nursing Home CEO Receives Long Sentence for Illegal Kickbacks
James Burkhart, CEO of one of Indiana’s largest nursing home chains, American Senior Communities, was sentenced in federal court to 9-1/2-years in prison following an investigation into a long-running kickback scheme. Burkhart pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to commit mail, wire and health care fraud. Prior to sentencing at the federal courthouse in Indianapolis, Burkhart told the judge he was sorry, and his voice broke as he asked for mercy.
Prosecutors said Burkhart, along with three others, took part in a kickback scheme between January 2009 and September 2015 that netted them $16 million. Burkhart was fired in September 2015, after the FBI raided his house. Burkhart was indicted in 2016, along with Daniel Benson, the company’s former chief operating officer; and associates Steven Ganote and Joshua Burkhart, who is James Burkhart’s brother.
Authorities say the four used shell companies and inflated invoices to enrich themselves. The victims of the fraud were Indianapolis-based ASC, which is owned by the Jackson family of Indianapolis; the Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County, which hired ASC to operate its nearly 70 nursing homes; and federal health care programs. Prosecutors outlined that Burkhart funneled $19.4 million to himself and others, and nearly $10 million of which belonged to Indianapolis’s public health system.