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CEO Stole From Residents and Caregivers

Published on December 19th, 2017

St. Louis Today reported that infamous and disgraced nursing home company CEO Johnnie Mac Sells admitted stealing more than $667,000 from Medicaid and been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison.  Now , he also admits to stealing from employees’ 401(k) accounts and health benefit plans, although he may face no more time in prison.

Sells waived indictment by a grand jury and pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to two counts: stealing from an employee benefit plan and stealing from a health care benefit program.

 Assistant U.S. Attorney Dorothy McMurtry told U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey that money for their 401(k) plans was withheld from Legacy Health Systems employees’ pay from August to October 2016, but was not added to their accounts. Employees didn’t know because Sells failed to file annual reports, she said.  She also said that there was more than $800,000 in the plan in December 2015, and nothing 15 or 16 months later.
 McMurtry said that the employee health care plan was terminated in May 2016 for nonpayment, but Sells continued to withhold a total of $20,000 from employee paychecks. Those employees only found out they didn’t have health insurance when their health claims were rejected, she said. McMurtry said there was more than $124,000 of unpaid health claims.

Legacy Health, the Sells family business, once employed 1,600 who cared for 2,000 patients in 27 facilities across Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee.  But by 2016, there were only three nursing homes left. And patients in Benchmark Healthcare were going hungry while Sells spent Medicaid money on strippers, gambling, pet care and country club fees, prosecutors have said.

A Post-Dispatch investigation documented the company’s fall.

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