On Friday, October 6, 2017, it was announced that the former CEO of Benchmark Healthcare had been sentenced to prison for health care fraud. 53-year-old John Mac Sells of St. Peters, Missouri was sentenced to 41 months in prison. He has also been ordered to pay $667,201.85 in restitution. Sells served as the chief executive officer of Benchmark Healthcare of Fetus Inc. between 2013 and 2016.
Court documents show that Sells stole money provided by Medicaid that was originally intended for elderly and disabled residents at Benchmark long-term care facilities in Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri. Due to Sells’ diversion of funds, residents did not receive food, medication and dietary supplements that they needed.
In one case, residents were given nothing more than a clear bowl of broth soup and a small cookie. Residents were also provided with lunch meat, half of a baked potato and a small muffin. Neither of the meals were sufficient and neither provided the residents with their nutritional needs. Sometimes, staff with Benchmark were forced to use their own money to purchase food.
The facilities’ laboratory, medical record, and pharmacy services were also disrupted due to non-payment. Eventually, trash piled up and files infested the facility and the surrounding area. It was deemed that the facility was dirty and unsafe, since routine maintenance and repairs were no longer performed.
During this time, Sells used the stolen Medicaid funds to accommodate his lavish lifestyle. This included spending $11,566 at a country club, $14,614 for pet care, $4,513 at casinos, and $184,889 at adult entertainment and strip clubs. The defendant pled guilty to two counts of health care fraud in April. Again, John Mac Sells has been sentenced to 41 months in prison.