Former CEO of Benchmark Healthcare Sentenced on Health Care Fraud Charges
St. Louis, MO – John Mac Sells, 53, of St. Peters, Missouri, was sentenced today to 41months in prison and ordered to pay $667,201.85 in restitution.
According to court documents, between 2013 and 2016, John Sells was the chief executive officer (CEO) of Benchmark Healthcare of Festus, Inc. (Benchmark), and a number of long-term care facilities in Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee. Sells stole the funds provided by Medicaid which he was to use to provide care for elderly and disabled residents at Benchmark. Because of Sells’ diversion of funds to his own use, the residents did not receive medication, food, and needed dietary supplements. On one occasion, the residents were only given a clear bowl of broth soup and a very small cookie. Another meal consisted of 1-2 ounces of lunchmeat, half of a baked potato, and a small muffin. Neither of these meals was substantial and did not meet the nutritional needs of the residents. On some occasions, Benchmark staff had to use their own money to buy food when there was no or inadequate food at the facility.
Medical laboratory services, medical record services, and pharmacy services were also disrupted because of non-payment. Additionally, trash piled up and flies quickly infested the facility and the surrounding area in the absence of pest control services. The facility was dirty and unsafe because routine maintenance and repairs because were not performed.
While these substandard conditions existed at Benchmark, Sells used the stolen Medicaid funds to support his life style, including spending $184,889 at adult entertainment and strip clubs, $11,566 at this country club, $14,614 for pet care, and $4,513 at casinos.
Sells pled guilty in April to two counts of health care fraud and appeared today for sentencing before United States District Judge John A. Ross.
The case was investigated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General and the Missouri Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Dorothy McMurtry is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.