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. ••