By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Bucks county man has been sentenced to 14-and-a-half years in prison for a fraud that cheated Medicare out of millions of dollars intended for people who needed hospice care.

Prosecutor Suzanne Ercole says 52-year-old Matthew Kolodesh was the architect of a fraud that cheated Medicare out of over 16 million dollars, and he diverted several million to himself and his family.

According to Ercole, a culture of fraud permeated Home Care Hospice in Northeast Philadelphia.

They would fabricate things to show patient decline and lack of stability, such as weight loss, fevers, infections, medications, things of that nature,” Ercole says. “And then the original records were destroyed. So what the auditors had or anyone else who would examine their records, which they were pristine, they told the story and they told the story of fraud.”

But Ercole says insiders, whistleblowers came forward — and now nearly two dozen people have been convicted.

Kolodesh was taken into custody in the courtroom.

The judge has called the crime bold and brazen — and says the sentence should send a message to others.

Top Content On CBSPhilly

Watch & Listen LIVE