Hospice care operator sentenced for fraud

The op­er­at­or of a former North­east hos­pice care ser­vice was sen­tenced last week to more than 14 years in pris­on for Medi­care fraud, just two days after the U.S. gov­ern­ment filed a civil com­plaint against the same com­pany, join­ing two former em­ploy­ees who blew the whistle on the multi-mil­lion-dol­lar scam and lost their jobs.

The U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice iden­ti­fied Bucks County res­id­ent Mat­thew Ko­lodesh as the “de facto own­er” of Home Care Hos­pice Inc., which was based at 2801 Grant Ave. Last Oc­to­ber, a fed­er­al jury con­victed Ko­lodesh, 52, of crim­in­al charges for fraud­u­lently billing Medi­care for more than $16 mil­lion of hos­pice ser­vices that were nev­er de­livered to pa­tients or ser­vices that were ad­min­istered to in­eligible pa­tients. A fed­er­al judge on Fri­day ordered Ko­lodesh to serve 14-1/2 years in pris­on.

Two oth­ers have pleaded guilty to re­lated crim­in­al charges and await sen­ten­cing: HCH’s ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or and own­er Alex Pug­man and its de­vel­op­ment ex­ec­ut­ive Svet­lana Ganet­sky. Pug­man and Ganet­sky are mar­ried.

The civil whis­tleblower com­plaint, which the gov­ern­ment filed on May 21, lists the same three HCH prin­cipals as de­fend­ants. It also al­leges that Ko­lodesh’s wife, Malv­ina Yako­bashvili, who was the com­pany’s CEO, also profited per­son­ally from the fraud.

Two former em­ploy­ees dis­covered the fraud more than sev­en years ago and re­por­ted it to com­pany of­fi­cials, the U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice said. HCH ex­ec­ut­ives al­legedly fired one of the em­ploy­ees. The oth­er soon quit her job with the firm. Un­der the fed­er­al False Claims Act, both former em­ploy­ees would be eli­gible to re­cov­er dam­ages from the de­fend­ants, while the gov­ern­ment would be eli­gible to re­cov­er dam­ages and pen­al­ties. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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