CEO of Festus nursing home spent Medicaid money on strippers, ga - KMOV.com

CEO of Festus nursing home spent Medicaid money on strippers, gambling

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A former CEO of Benchmark Healthcare spent Medicaid money on strippers, gambling and his pet. Credit: KMOV A former CEO of Benchmark Healthcare spent Medicaid money on strippers, gambling and his pet. Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

A former CEO of a Festus nursing home admitted to a federal judge Wednesday he took more than $667,000 in Medicaid from patients. 

John Sells stood next to his attorney, Scott Rosenblum, when he pled guilty to two counts of health care fraud. Benchmark Healthcare was a nursing home off of Highway TT. 

60 people lived at the nursing home that closed in 2016. Federal prosecutors say the facility was dirty, had an infestation of flies. and that patients weren't fed. Sells was president of the company that ran it. 

"These are older people, older individuals. These are people that trust individuals like John Sells," says Assistant United States Attorney, Dorothy McMurtry. 

But that's not all. For three years starting in 2013, Sells admitted that he took Medicaid money for residents and used it for himself. 

"I think the most shocking thing was the amount of money he spent on adult entertainment in Illinois," says McMurtry. 

Prosecutors say he spent upwards of $185,000 at the Penthouse Club and another club in Illinois. They also say he spent $4,513 on gambling and alcohol at casinos and $1,971 on his pet. 

"I can't psycho-analyze him other than to say he has no empathy or sympathy for these people," says McMurtry. 

Sells would not speak on camera. Rosenblum said his client has gone through difficult time and that he's working to pay back the stolen money. Sells will be sentenced in July and could spend more than two years in prison.

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