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Ex-Nursing Home Operator Hit With $8.4M JudgmentLock Icon

3 min read

Disgraced former Arkansas nursing home operator Joseph Schwartz recently was hit with a $8.4 million judgment, marking the latest blow to the New York businessman facing state and federal charges.

The estate of Freddie Miles won the award against Schwartz’s Broadway Health Holdings LLC, which operated as Broadway Health & Rehab in West Memphis. 

Freddie Miles entered the facility comatose in early 2017. 

“However, during a very short residency they allowed her health to rapidly decline due to their failure to monitor her needs,” attorney Kyle Phillip Ludwig of the Ludwig Law Firm of Little Rock said via email. “My client was often left malnourished and dehydrated. She was essentially left to decay in her bed.”

Miles died June 23, 2017, at the age of 68. 

Making matters worse, the facility destroyed most of her medical records, “making it nearly impossible to understand the true extent of her suffering and their wrongdoings,” Ludwig said.  

Miles’ family received a default judgment against Schwartz and his companies, including Skyline Management Group LLC, in September. A hearing was held in October to determine damages. Miles’ family had nine witnesses testify and submitted 21 exhibits.

The defendants didn’t appear.  

Crittenden County Circuit Judge Richard Lusby awarded $2 million in compensatory damages to the estate, $1.35 million to individual family members and $5 million in punitive damages.

But will the 63-year-old from Suffern, New York, be able to pay? He was slapped with two mulitimillion-dollar judgments last year.

“Thus far, Mr. Schwartz has been an expert on avoiding punishment,” Ludwig said in the email. He said he intends to seek payment from Schwartz. “Regardless of the monetary outcome, we hope this serves as a lesson to anyone who attempts to profit from the disregard of human life in Arkansas,” Ludwig said. 

Schwartz is a former insurance agency owner who began operating nursing homes in 2005. Schwartz’s Skyline Health Care LLC ran more than 100 facilities in 11 states and operated above a pizza parlor in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey.

In Arkansas, Skyline Health Care was in charge of 21 nursing homes with locations in Batesville, Little Rock and Fort Smith, among other cities.

Schwartz is facing criminal charges in Pulaski County Circuit Court over allegations that he submitted 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, the news release said.

The jury trial is scheduled for March 28 through April 7 before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Karen Whatley. 

In January 2022, Schwartz was indicted in federal court in New Jersey on 22 criminal counts that include benefit plan fraud and failing to pay $29.5 million in payroll and unemployment taxes. Schwartz pleaded not guilty to all the charges. As of last week, a trial date had not been set.

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