Indiana

4 charged in American Senior Communities money laundering scheme agree to plea agreements

WISH-TV - INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)  - Four suspects have signed plea agreements in connection to an American Senior Communities money laundering scheme.

The former CEO for American Senior Communities, James Burkhart, along with Daniel Benson ASC's Chief Operation Officer, Steven Ganote a personal friend of Burkhart and Joshua Burkhart aka "Justin Barnes" who is James' brother, were all arrested in October 2016 for their involvement in a money laundering scheme.

On Thursday afternoon, the U.S. District Attorney's Office confirmed that all four did, in fact, agree to plea agreements. The terms of the plea agreements are unclear at this time.

In September 2015, Burkart's Carmel home was part of an FBI raid, which included the ASC's cooperate headquarters. The raid lasted nearly nine hours before agents left with boxes and several computers. Burkhart was fired just days after the raids.

It is believed that the four used ASC's numerous vendors to launder millions of dollars for their own benefit. Court documents state that ASC had no knowledge of the crimes.

Court documents show, the defendants created shell companies to conceal the scheme and funnel millions of dollars from ASC's owners and federal care programs for themselves. The crime was documented by Ganote with binders, records and notes that detailed the amount they received.

James Burkhart was using shell companies to funnel in money beginning in 2009 until approximately April 2015.

Burkhart, Benson and Ganote received a total of over $1.5 million from one scheme that went from August 2013 to September 2015. In another scheme the they received over $3.7 million.

The U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said during the six-year scheme the four pulled in over $16 million from fraud and kickbacks. Minkler described the scheme as unbridled greed where they took money from programs for the disabled and elderly that desperately need it.


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