Indiana nursing home company sues former executives

Markets Associated Press

A nursing home management firm in Indiana has sued several former executives who are already criminally charged with embezzling more than $16 million from the company.

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American Senior Communities filed the lawsuit Friday against several individuals, including former CEO James Burkhart, and 16 shell companies, The Indianapolis Star reported .

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.

The federal lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, alleges the executives took advantage of the company and violated the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Burkhart's attorney said he's innocent and that the company flourished under his leadership.

"Mr. Burkhart intends to vigorously defend himself against claims by ASC or anyone else that he did anything to harm ASC, its owners or residents of ASC facilities," said attorney Kathleen Matsoukas. "ASC owes Mr. Burkhart millions of dollars under his compensation agreements with ASC. Mr. Burkhart's collection of such debt will be a focus of the litigation as he seeks vindication of his rights and reputation."

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Federal prosecutors said the executives used shell companies to falsify and inflate costs of goods and services, which enabled them to steal discounts and rebates, and conceal kickbacks from 2009 to 2015.

Investigators said the executives used fraudulent transactions to buy vacation homes, private planes, luxury trips and even gold bars. U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler called it "unbridled greed."

The executives were indicted in October on more than 30 counts, including conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. They have pleaded not guilty. The criminal trial is scheduled for January.

The federal indictment alleges the defendants also conspired to defraud the Health & Hospital Corp. of Marion County, Medicare and Indiana Medicaid.

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com