The Kokomo Tribune reported that two former owner/operators of nursing homes agreed to plead guilty in a kickback scheme involving millions of dollars. American Senior Communities CEO James Burkhart and Chief Operating Officer Daniel Benson have reached plea agreements that could put them in prison for decades.
Burkhart and Benson were indicted in 2016 along with Burkhart’s friend, Steven Ganote, and Burkhart’s brother, Joshua Burkhart. Ganote and Joshua Burkhart also have reached plea deals.
Federal prosecutors who indicted the men on a total of 32 counts say they took part in a kickback scheme between January 2009 and September 2015 that netted them $16 million. Prosecutors said the men used shell companies to falsify and inflate costs of goods and services, which enabled them to steal discounts and rebates, and conceal kickbacks during the six-year period.
Prosecutors said the men used the money to buy lavish items, such as vacation homes, jewelry and gold bars.
The company manages nearly 100 senior care facilities, including 60 locations under a contract with Marion County’s public health agency. The county is home to Indianapolis.