Former Arkansas Nursing Home Operator Charged with Medicaid Fraud, Tax Fraud

Former Arkansas Nursing Home Operator Charged with Medicaid Fraud, Tax Fraud
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A former nursing home chain operator who had several facilities in Arkansas has been charged with eight counts of Medicaid fraud and two tax fraud counts.

The Arkansas Attorney General’s Office announced that Joseph Schwartz, of Brooklyn, New York, is accused of submitting false statements in cost reports and other documentation to the state's Medicaid program. His former company, Skyline Health, allegedly exaggerated its costs by $6.3 million and was overpaid by $3.6 million.

Schwartz is also charged with failing to pay more than $2 million withheld from his Arkansas employees' paychecks to the state from July 2017 to July 2018.

Last month, Grant DeProw, senior assistant attorney general, issued an arrest warrant in Pulaski County District Court against Schwartz. The arrest warrant was sealed on Friday, making it unavailable for public access. 

Schwartz’s attorney, Bill James Jr. of Little Rock, didn’t immediately return a call for comment Monday afternoon.  

The nursing home chain’s 21 Arkansas locations included sites in Batesville, West Memphis, Little Rock and Fort Smith. 

In May 2018, Skyline said it was leaving the nursing home business after the Arkansas Department of Human Services filed lawsuits to put Skyline’s Spring Place Health & Rehab in Hazen and Dierks Health & Rehab into receivership after concerns surfaced over the company’s finances and its ability to provide food to residents. It was the first time since the 1980s that DHS had sued to take control of a nursing home.

The nursing home chain, which also used the business name Skyline Healthcare LLC, also has had facilities taken over by regulators in South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska and Pennsylvania.

Schwartz is scheduled for a video arraignment hearing on Jan. 21 in front of Pulaski County District Court Judge Wayne Gruber. 

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