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Delaware County Man Charged With Stealing Skin Grafts Intended For Hospital

By Todd Quinones

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A Delaware County man is charged with stealing skin grafts intended for a Philadelphia hospital.

Police accuse this man of being a skin graft salesman who was skimming off the top.

The investigation began when an internal audit revealed the hospital was overbilled $357,000.

Gary Dudek made a living in part police say by selling skin grafts to Mercy Hospital in West Philadelphia.

The 54-year-old worked for a Massachusetts firm specializing in regenerative medicine.

The crime, police allege Dudek ordered more than 200 skin graft from his company over the past two years that were never ordered or used by the hospital.

"Billing Mercy Hospital for more than $217 a piece he would receive commission for that which was his motivation to continue ordering," Philadelphia Police Lt. John Walker said.

No one answered the door at Dudek's home in Wallingford, Delaware County.

His lawyer, Eugene Tinari released a statement which reads, in part:

"If Mercy Hospital has suffered losses and they can be deemed to be as a result of Mr. Dudek's actions then perhaps a civil suit could have been initiated. But to take this into the criminal arena against a man who has been nothing but hard working and law abiding his entire life is a bit draconian in my view."

Investigators tell CBS 3 Dudek was spotted on surveillance cameras on at least two occasions carrying out of the hospital what is believed to be the skin grafts.

Police aren't exactly sure what happened to the skin grafts Dudek allegedly over-ordered.

"We think at this point he was destroying them so he could keep collecting those commissions. You're talking $357,000 over two years, that's a lot of money," Walker said.

In a written statement, Mercy Philadelphia Hospital says:

"We can assure our patients that the alleged actions of the vendor would have had no effect on the quality of or access to care that our patients received."

Dudek was arrested earlier this week and is facing three counts of felony theft.

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