Former Mainscape CEO sentenced in nursing home kickback scheme

A fifth person who played a role in a $19 million kickback scheme involving Indiana nursing homes has been sentenced to probation.

David Mazanowski, founder and former CEO of the Fishers-based landscaping firm Mainscape Inc., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one felony count of conspiracy to commit mail, wire and health care fraud. In addition to probation, Mazanowski on Tuesday also was fined $60,000 and ordered to pay $808,000 in restitution.

The sentence includes six months in a halfway house, followed by six months of electronic monitoring.

In his plea agreement, Mazanowski, 57, admitted to inflating invoices to nursing home giant American Senior Communities from his landscaping company from 2009 to 2014.

IBJ reported in April 2017 that Mazanowski secretly helped the government build its case against other defendants before it brought charges against them.

Former American Senior Communities CEO James Burkhart was sentenced last month to nearly 10 years in prison for his role in the massive scheme to defraud ASC and federal health care programs out of millions of dollars.

Daniel Benson, the company's former chief operating officer, was sentenced last week to nearly five years in prison.

On Monday, key player Steven Ganote was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay $7 million in restitution, and Josh Burkhart, younger brother of James, was sentenced to four months in prison and ordered to pay $420,000.

Mazanowski started Mainscape as a Ball State University student in 1980 as a way to employ Christian students who otherwise would go home for the summer. It grew steadily over the years into one of largest landscape companies in the industry, with more than $71 million in annual revenue.

According to investigators, at James Burkhart's direction, Mainscape between 2009 and 2014 inflated landscaping invoices by 5 percent and sent them to ASC for payment.

ASC then used Health & Hospital funds to pay the inflated amounts. In turn, Mainscape paid the 5 percent overcharges to Joshua Burkhart's shell company, Circle Consulting LLC. Investigators allege Joshua Burkhart received about $400,000 in concealed Mainscape overcharges.

According to the indictment, James Burkhart and Mainscape upped the ante in January 2015, increasing the overcharges by an additional 45 percent. From that point until the scheme ended later that year, James Burkhart and Mainscape kept the overcharges for themselves, splitting them 50-50, with each receiving about $195,000, the indictment alleged.

Furthermore, according to the indictment, from 2009 to 2015, Mainscape, at James Burkhart's direction, submitted false invoices to ASC for "consulting" services that had not been performed. The payments were actually reimbursements to Mazanowski for James Burkhart's use of his plane, to reimburse him for a golf trip Burkhart had asked him to pay for, and to reimburse him for political contributions Burkhart had directed him to make.

In total, according to the indictment, about $1.5 million in Health & Hospital funds were used to pay Mainscape for fictitious consulting services.

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