151-month sentence recommended for former American Senior Communities CEO after kickback scheme

James Burkhart

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – One week ahead of the sentencing hearing for former American Senior Communities CEO James G. Burkhart, U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler is recommending he get 151 months in prison for participating in a multi-million dollar kickback scheme.

Burkhart was fired from his position as CEO in September 2015, several days after a large-scale FBI raid at a series of homes and corporate headquarters.

He was charged a year later in October 2016 in connection with a scheme that included massive fraud and kickbacks totaling more than $16 million. Three others were also charged in the case.

Burkhart agreed to plead guilty in December 2017 to conspiracy to commit mail, wire and health care fraud; conspiracy to violate the anti-kickback statute; and money laundering.

In a statement released through his law firm, Barnes & Thornburg, Burkhart confirmed he received “illegal payments from various suppliers of products and services to American Senior Communities.”

“I accept responsibility today for criminal actions I took while I served as CEO of American Senior Communities. I am deeply sorry for having taken advantage of my relationships and positions for the sake of personal financial gain.”

Minkler released the Government’s Sentencing Memorandum on Friday, recommending 151 months, which is the equivalent of 12 years. Burkhart’s defense team wants him sentenced to 48 months.

In the memorandum, Minkler writes, “This was not a one-time failure of conscience or exercise of bad judgment. On a notepad in his office, he listed several of his schemes and, at the bottom, wrote, ‘God knows what else.’”

Minkler writes that even though the sentence recommendation is on the high end of the advisory guidelines range, he believes it is “reasonable and appropriate given the nature and circumstances of this case, and the history and character of this Defendant.”