FBI agents at home of senior living community’s CEO

(WISH Photo/Chopper 8)

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation had a presence around Carmel Tuesday morning, including at the home of the CEO of a well-known senior living community.

Special Agent Wendy Osborne told 24-Hour News 8 shortly before 8 a.m. that “the FBI is in the Carmel area conducting investigative activity, but the nature of that activity can’t be disclosed at this time.” Osbourne said there was a presence near Illinois and Main streets.

FBI agents were at the home of James Burkhart the CEO of American Senior Communities. (WISH Photo/Marcus Collins)
FBI agents were at the home of James Burkhart the CEO of American Senior Communities. (WISH Photo/Marcus Collins)

Chopper 8 flew over that area where there was a heavy police and FBI presence in front of a home on Suffolk Lane. Investigators were positioned in front a home that records show is owned by a James Burkhart.

Many people who live nearby were shocked to see the amount of law enforcement in their neighborhood.

“It’s a really quiet neighborhood,” Jill Bee said. “You hardly ever see anything ever going on. You never see any cars out of the ordinary go down the street even. So it was sort of shocking to come by and see all the activity going on this street.”

Photos | See pictures from the investigation

Neighbors say it’s the home of American Senior Communities CEO, James Burkhart. The Indiana Health Care Association, which Burkhart is affiliated with, released the following statement:

The Indiana Health Care Association just learned of the investigation this morning. We will continue to gather information as it becomes available. Right now, our most important priority is the care of the Hoosiers in our 330 member centers across the state.

Agents were seen going in and out of the home on Suffolk Lane, taking items from the FBI truck parked out front and bringing them inside.

Authorities were at the home for nine hours. Before they left, agents packed bags, boxes and several computers.

A man claiming to represent Burkhart was also at the home. He told 24-Hour News 8 that his client was never arrested and released the following statement:

Thorough oversight of health care costs in this nation is in every citizen’s interests and ASC will be an active partner with the government in this investigation.  ASC cares for thousands of residents in scores of facilities across Indiana and has built a decade long record and reputation for excellence in caring for those most in need. We will keep our focus on our residents while we cooperate fully in this cost review.

Investigators at the American Senior Living Communities headquarters on South Gray Road in Indianapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. (WISH Photo/Tim McNicholas)
Investigators at the American Senior Living Communities headquarters on South Gray Road in Indianapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. (WISH Photo/Tim McNicholas)

Neighbors 24-Hour News 8 spoke to were shocked to see investigators were there. Officials have released few details, but did say they were investigating at multiple locations. 24-Hour News 8 arrived at the American Senior Living Communities headquarters, on the south side of Indianapolis on South Gray Road, where the FBI was.

In the early afternoon, multiple FBI agents were seen carrying boxes from the American Senior Communities corporate office.

A spokesperson for American Senior Communities said she didn’t know why the FBI was at the location.

Michael Clapper lives at Beech Grove Meadows, a living center operated by ASC. He said he didn’t see any investigations going on near his home, but he did watch the events unfold on the news.

“It’s shocking, to tell you the truth,” Clapper said.

Clapper lives with his disabled parents in Beech Grove Meadows. It’s one of more than 30 ASC-owned properties in the greater Indianapolis area.

He said he’ll be calling the corporate office to ask some questions.

“I want to know how deep this goes. Does it include just the CEO? Does it include his staff? What sorts of things are going on?” Clapper said.

Another resident from Beech Grove Meadows, David Baker, wasn’t ready to rush to judgement. “I wasn’t alarmed about (the investigation),” he said. “Tsually there is something to that but you have take into consideration that they don’t have all the evidence collected yet and they don’t have all of the people involved.”

Lucinda Edgar, a resident at Forest Creek Village on the south side was upset to see the CEO for ASC making news.

“I just think he needs to be investigated, he needs to be removed,” she said defiantly.

Also outside of Burkhart’s home were members of the Internal Revenue Service, but a spokesperson said they couldn’t comment as to why they were there.

The Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County (HHC) released a statement saying they are aware of the investigation and they are reassuring their patients.

American Senior Communities is one of the largest nursing home management companies in the state of Indiana. HHC has contracted with ASC to operate and manage nursing home facilities owned by HHC.

HHC is assured that HHC and its employees are not the target or subject of any investigation and that this investigation is not related to the care that any patient has received at any of HHC’s nursing homes. Moreover, this investigation will not impact the care that residents receive at any of HHC’s nursing homes.

HHC is working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI to assist and cooperate. Because it is an ongoing investigation it would be inappropriate for us to comment further. Any additional questions should be referred to the US Attorney’s office.

We read that statement to Edgar. She agreed that the investigation likely didn’t involve employees or patient care.

“Since I’ve been in here in this facility, you know (workers are) pretty much doing their job, they’re taking care of and doing what they’re supposed to do,” she said.

The statement was all Baker needed to hear. He said the thought of neglect or some other concern involving employees was the last thing he wanted to worry about.

“It’s reassuring to know that it’s not going to affect me directly and nor my wife so I’m glad to hear that,” he said.

This a developing story. Check back with WISHTV.com for updates.

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