Handcuffs sit on top of tax documents
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Former Skyline Healthcare owner Joseph Schwartz, accused of operating a $29.5 million tax fraud scheme, pleaded not guilty to the allegations in federal court on Monday. 

Schwartz appeared by videoconference during an arraignment at the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, where he pleaded not guilty to all 22 counts in the indictment.   

A request by McKnight’s Long-Term Care News seeking comment from Schwartz’s lawyer was not returned by production deadline. 

In late January, Schwartz was charged with more than 20 counts of failing to pay $29.5 million in payroll and unemployment taxes to the IRS, from mid-2017 through June 2018. The government contends his misdoings stemmed from dealing with more than 15,000 employees in 11 states where he led the nursing home chain.

The chain had operated more than 100 nursing homes through subsidiary companies. It faced troubles in several states in recent years, with many facilities being taken over, after the parent company was unable to pay vendors.

“Schwartz is also alleged to have failed to file annual financial reports [Form 5500] with the Department of Labor relating to Skyline’s 401K Retirement Plan Contributions that are automatically withdrawn from an employee’s gross pay and invested according to the employee’s own choices,” the Department of Justice alleged. 

The Form 5500 annual financial reports are publicly available and provide participants with the details of the plan’s financial condition, its operation and its investments, the DOJ added. 

He has since been released on a $2 million bond. Schwartz faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of the charges.