New Jersey man pleads not guilty to failing to pay nearly $30 million in payroll taxes

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NEWARK, N.J. — The former owner of a failed multistate chain of nursing homes pleaded not guilty Monday to failing to pay nearly $30 million in payroll taxes for about 15,000 employees.

Joseph Schwartz appeared via video conference before a federal judge in Newark. Last month, the 62-year-old Suffern, New York, resident was charged with multiple counts of failing to pay taxes withheld from employees’ paychecks covering unemployment insurance, Social Security and Medicare from mid-2017 through mid-2018.

A message seeking comment was left Monday with an attorney representing Schwartz.

Prosecutors also allege Schwartz failed to file annual financial reports related to Skyline’s 401K retirement plan contributions that are automatically withdrawn from an employee’s gross pay.

Schwartz’s company, New Jersey-based Skyline Health Care, at one time operated more than 100 health care and rehabilitation facilities under subsidiary companies in at least 10 states including South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Tennessee, according to an Associated Press review. Schwartz has relinquished most of his nursing homes because of financial insolvency.

A lawsuit in Nebraska and an arrest warrant in Arkansas, filed in recent months, accuse Schwartz of Medicaid fraud. Messages were left Monday with spokespersons for the attorney general’s offices that filed those actions.

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