Former Chase retirement home operator pleads not guilty in tax case | News from the region

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NEWARK, New Jersey— The former owner of a bankrupt multistate nursing home chain pleaded not guilty Monday to failing to pay nearly $30 million in payroll taxes for about 15,000 employees.

Joseph Schwartz appeared by videoconference before a federal judge in Newark. Last month, the 62-year-old Suffern, New York resident was charged with multiple counts of failing to pay taxes withheld from employees’ paychecks covering Unemployment Insurance, Social Security and health insurance from mid-2017 to mid-2018.

A message seeking comment was left Monday with an attorney representing Schwartz.

Prosecutors also allege that Schwartz failed to file annual financial reports related to Skyline’s 401K retirement plan contributions that are automatically deducted from an employee’s gross pay.

Schwartz’s company, Skyline Health Care, based in New Jersey, at one time operated more than 100 health care and rehabilitation facilities under subsidiary management in at least 10 states, including South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Tennessee, according to an Associated Press review.

The state of Kansas took control of 15 Skyline facilities in 2018, including the Chase County Care and Rehabilitation Center in Cottonwood Falls, after the company could not meet its payroll.

Schwartz gave up most of his nursing homes due to his financial insolvency.

A lawsuit in Nebraska and an arrest warrant in Arkansas, filed in recent months, accuse Schwartz of Medicaid fraud. He first appeared in court in Arkansas but has not yet pleaded guilty, according to a spokesperson for the state attorney general’s office. A message was left Monday with a spokesperson for the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office.