Second Nursing Home Executive Ordered to Prison in Kickback Case
(INDIANAPOLIS) - A second executive of Indiana's largest nursing home chain has been sentenced to prison:
American Senior Communities COO Daniel Benson's sentence of four years and nine months, is exactly half the 9 1/2 year sentence CEO Jim Burkhart received last week. Federal prosecutors call Burkhart the mastermind of a $19 million fraud and kickback scheme, but they say Benson was no pawn, but an active participant. They say Benson pushed employees to steer business to vendors who paid him kickbacks, in at least one case awarding bonuses as an incentive to choose the "right" vendor. And they say Benson set up at least two shell companies which allowed him to skim overcharges when payments were funneled through them.
Prosecutors calculate Benson fraudulently collected $8 million. That's less than half the amount they say Burkhart pocketed, but prosecutors maintain Burkhart couldn't have sustained the scheme as long as he did without Benson's help.
Three more co-defendants will be sentenced next week.
(Photo: Brian A. Jackson/Thinkstock)