Former nursing home CEO sentenced to prison for fraud

John Mac Sells, the former CEO of Benchmark Healthcare of Festus (Mo.), was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay over $667,000 for embezzling funds from the system's long-term care facilities.

Because of Mr. Sells' theft of Medicaid funds, residents of Benchmark's facilities sometimes did not receive proper medication, dietary supplements or food. Meals were sometimes limited to as little as a clear bowl of broth and a small cookie, and staff were often forced to spend their own money on food for residents. The embezzlement also led to an interruption in medical laboratory services, medical record services, pharmacy services and even routine maintenance around the facilities.

Government officials found that while residents of his facilities were forced to endure substandard conditions, Mr. Sells spent $184,889 of the stolen funds on adult entertainment and strip clubs, $11,566 at this country club, $14,614 for pet care and $4,513 at casinos.

In April, Mr. Sells plead guilty to the two charges of healthcare fraud. U.S. District Judge John A. Ross oversaw the sentencing hearing Oct. 6.

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