$8.86 million False Claims Act settlement set state record for 2016, government says

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A case involving the country's biggest private owner and operator of independent living communities for older adults was the largest single civil collection resolved by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon in 2016, the office said in an end-of-year review.

In the case, Lake Oswego, OR-based Holiday Retirement and Fortress Investment Group, which bought Holiday in 2007, paid $8.86 million to settle allegations that Holiday had violated the False Claims Act by improperly receiving veterans' benefit payments for care that was not provided and for care provided to ineligible veterans. The attorney's office said that Holiday falsified information to indicate that veterans were entitled to benefits for assistance with their activities of daily living when in fact those funds were used for rent.

“The allegations in the suit between the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon and Holiday Retirement were based on events that happened more than three years ago,” spokesman Brian K. Fawkes told McKnight's Senior Living. “Holiday implemented safeguards to ensure our veterans receive the benefits they rightly and justly deserve. Holiday is proud of the thousands of veterans and their spouses who live at Holiday communities across the country.”

The investigation was prompted by allegations from two former managers of company properties. The settlement was announced in May.

Holiday Retirement operated 37,659 units as of June 1, according to the ASHA 50 rankings. The American Seniors Housing Association lists the company as No. 2 among seniors housing operators and No. 10 among owners; the rankings include private and publicly traded companies.

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