The former chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based American Senior Communities and three others have been arrested. U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler says James Burkhart and his co-defendants have been indicted on numerous charges in relation to a scheme to steal millions of dollars.
Dan Benson, the former chief operating officer of ASC has also been arrested, along with Dan Benson, a friend of James Burkhart, as well as Burkhart’s brother Josh. All four face charges of conspiracy to commit wire and healthcare fraud, 11 counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to solicit kickbacks and 19 counts of money laundering. The charges carry a penalty of up to 55-65 years in prison.
The arrests come after a 16-month investigation by the FBI, IRS, U.S. Postal Inspector and the Office of Health and Human Services. Minkler says the defendants received more $16 million over six years through fraud and kickbacks from ASC vendors. He says they used the money to finance "a gratuitous life of luxury," including vacation homes, golf junkets, gambling in Las Vegas, private planes, diamonds, Rolex watches and gold bars.
"The allegation this indictment are serious and consequential and they don’t paint a pretty picture," said Minkler. "(The defendants) engaged in a six-year scheme, which is 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."
All four defendants are expected to make an initial court appearance Wednesday afternoon.
American Senior Communities released the following statement Wednesday:
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. ASC was the victim of a betrayal of trust by two of its former officers.
ASC continues its strong tradition of providing excellent care, which has made ASC a valued and respected provider of senior care in Indiana. Nothing in the investigation or this prosecution involves resident care. ASC’s primary focus continues to be exceptional resident care.
ASC appreciates the commitment of its employees and continued support of its families.
ASC has emerged from this process a stronger, more vital organization. ASC has implemented many safeguards, and strengthened the organization with new leadership under the direction of CEO Donna Kelsey. ASC skilled nursing and residential facilities continue to enjoy quality ratings that exceed state and national averages.
Burkhart was arrested at his Carmel home Wednesday morning. Investigators raided the home and several other buildings in September 2015. Burkhart was fired by ASC following the raid.
U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler outlines the allegations.