Nursing home figure enters not guilty plea in fraud case (St. Louis Post)

Nursing home figure enters not guilty plea in fraud case (St. Louis Post)

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Nursing home figure enters not guilty plea in fraud case
By Peter Shinkle
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
11/22/2005

Robert D. Wachter, the former operator of a chain of nursing homes in the St. Louis area, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he conspired to defraud the government by providing substandard care at his facilities.

Wachter, 58, of Jackson, Wyo., entered his plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Noce in federal court in St. Louis.

He was indicted last week on charges that he held down staffing levels and drained money from three nursing homes so severely that the quality of care was abusive and substandard.

The 54-page indictment against Wachter claims his companies billed the government’s health care program for the work, even though it was deficient. The indictment recounts the stories of more than a dozen patients at the facilities operated by Wachter. One patient died after being beaten by an employee.