A federal judge sentenced Daniel Benson, former Chief Operating Officer for American Senior Communities (Indiana’s largest nursing home chain), to five years in prison for his part in a long-running kick-back and fraud scheme.¬† Benson was sentenced by Indiana Southern District Judge Tonya Walton Pratt for his part in a scheme that lasted for six years and shook down companies doing business with the nursing home firm for $16 million.

Benson’s sentence was the result of a plea agreement where he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit wire, mail and health care fraud; conspiracy to violate the anti-kick-back stature and money laundering.¬†Benson’s sentencing follows that of former ASC CEO James Burkhart to nine and a half years in federal prison for his participation in the scheme.

Prosecutors claim the men, along with two other defendants used the allure of contracts with the company to get additional money out of vendors. The company used inflated invoices, shell companies and kick-backs to funnel the money into their private accounts.

The men used their scheme to get money from vendors providing everything from American Flags to pharmacy services.

Benson and Burkhart were indicted by a federal grand jury in the case along with Steven Ganote and Burkhart’s brother, Joshua Burkhart. Those two men along with another co-defendant David Mazanowski are set for sentencing yet this month in the Southern District of the U.S. Federal Court.

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