Ex-Nursing Home Owner Gets 2 1/2 Years For Stealing Benefits

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A former Connecticut nursing home operator has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for stealing millions of dollars of employees’ benefits.

Chaim Stern, 72, who owned nursing homes in Bridgeport and Waterbury, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in New Haven after pleading guilty to embezzlement and tax offenses last year.

Stern, of the New York City borough of Queens, has already paid $4.9 million in restitution for stealing employees’ pension funds, but he still has to make $2.5 million in restitution for stealing their health care funding and owes $2.2 million to the IRS.

Stern faced from 70 to 87 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. The Hartford Courant reports that U.S. District Judge Janet Hall said she was imposing a lesser sentence in large part because of Stern’s lack of a criminal record, his charitable giving and his family history. His mother was a Holocaust victim, his father survived a Nazi labor camp and he emigrated from Romania to an impoverished childhood in Israel at age 2.

Stern acknowledged the improper diversion of funds through his lawyers. He claimed that he directed most of the money to investments in his faith-based community that he hoped would generate income that he could use to save the nursing home business.