Former American Senior Communities CEO sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for fraud, money laundering

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The former CEO of American Senior Communities was sentenced to 9 ½ years in prison June 29 for his role in a fraud, kickback and money laundering conspiracy.

James Burkhart, 53, of Carmel pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to violate the health care anti-kickback statute and money laundering, all federal felony offenses. Prosecutors said he and his co-conspirators funneled nearly $19.4 million in fraud and kickbacks to themselves through shell companies over nearly six years. Most of the money they stole came from the Health & Hospital Corp. of Marion County, they said.

Burkhart used his position as ASC’s CEO to cut secret side deals with more than a dozen of ASC’s vendors, prosecutors said, sometimes asking them to inflate their bills or submitting false bills for services not provided.

Burkhart used the stolen funds to buy lakefront property on Lake Wawasee, take golf vacations, visit Las Vegas, make political contributions, purchase gold bars and more. The gold bars and coins and other assets seized from Burkhart will be criminally forfeited, and Burkhart must pay full restitution and serve three years of supervised release following his sentence.

“This defendant was paid a large salary and viewed as an industry leader, but he chose to abuse his power and position out of pure greed,” Grant Mendenhall, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division, stated in a press release. “The FBI works diligently with partner agencies to uncover and investigate corporate executives who enrich themselves through kickbacks and theft. We applaud the concerned citizen who brought this fraud to our attention, and we encourage anyone else who wants to bring these types of fraudulent behavior to light to contact us.”

ASC manages approximately 70 senior care facilities throughout the state.

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