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Augusta businessman Julian Osbon says health forced him to settle Medicare fraud case for $1.4 million

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After he was diagnosed with leukemia last August, Augusta businessman Julian Osbon said he could not afford to battle the disease and the government’s civil Medicare fraud case against him and his company, so his attorneys settled it for $1.4 million.

Julian Osbon said he wants to focus on his health now.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Julian Osbon said he wants to focus on his health now.

“I just didn’t think I could continue the fight with the (Department of Justice) and fight this disease at the same time, and my family encouraged me to do this,” he said Thursday.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia announced the settlement, which includes a five-year ban from Medicare for Osbon. He said the settlement does not include any criminal charges against him.

Osbon and his company, Augusta Medical Systems, were accused of billing Medicare for $690,000 at a time when the company was not an approved Medicare provider.

Osbon, an erectile dysfunction treatment pioneer, said previously that he was closing one company he founded – Soma Blue, which was an approved Medicare provider – and was starting in 2003 to operate Augusta Medical Systems, which was applying for a Medicare provider number. Both companies were housed for a time in the same office on Broad Street.

Osbon said previously that there might have been a few billing mistakes between the companies but that he did not believe there was any intention to defraud Medicare. The U.S. attorney contended that Osbon closed Soma Blue to avoid paying a court judgement and opened Augusta Medical Systems to get around that.

Osbon said that he stands behind what he said previously but that there is no point in addressing it further because he wants to put it behind him. Since his diagnosis, he has been in and out of the hospital, he said.

“I was in the hospital a few months ago, and they didn’t think I was going to make it,” he said.

After spending more than $1 million to fight the lawsuit, it seemed more prudent to settle and focus on his illness, Osbon said. He is in remission now and is taking four medications, which he will probably have to continue for a couple of years.

“I’m doing well,” Osbon said. “I’m having to stay home and get my strength back. I’m planning on beating it, and I feel like I will.”

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omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 05/31/12 - 02:22 pm
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?Settled in/out of court?

?Settled in/out of court? ?Does this mean he's guilty? Is Ed Tarver the good guy now? Is Joe Testino in any way relevant anymore? Where is Osbons finest erection? I mean that fancy pants hotel we were promised. Please, Mr. moderator, have a sense of humor!!

JohnBrownAug
1962
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JohnBrownAug 05/31/12 - 02:26 pm
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Remember when the Chronicle

Remember when the Chronicle wrote an editorial criticizing the U.S. Attorney while saying Osbon did nothing wrong? That was strange as anything I've seen around here. Congrats to U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver and the taxpayers.

JohnBrownAug
1962
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JohnBrownAug 05/31/12 - 02:40 pm
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Here is the link to the

Here is the link to the bizarre editorial in the Chronicle. Interesting comments under the editorial, also. A couple of commentators in the media chimed in, too. Finally, this thing has played out.
http://chronicle.augusta.com/opinion/editorials/2011-04-17/suit-just-doe...

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 05/31/12 - 02:54 pm
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Egg on its face

Wow! Seems like the AC has egg on its face on this one. Sometimes, I am sure they have learned, it is better to keep ones mouth shut. This editorial, John Brown, is telling. I bet that they are really surprised that you would remember and then find it. Kudos to you.

omnomnom
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omnomnom 05/31/12 - 03:02 pm
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how much was Joe Testino's

how much was Joe Testino's finders fee? Less or more than the 60-80-thousand Osbon initially offered the Feds to make them go away? Inquiring minds want to grow!

Retired Army
17512
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Retired Army 05/31/12 - 03:08 pm
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More to follow. I have to go

More to follow. I have to go to work.

Little Lamb
45146
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Little Lamb 05/31/12 - 03:09 pm
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Hotel

Now that this civil case is no longer distracting Mr. Osbon (as omnomnom alluded to), he can start building the new Hyatt Hotel downtown just in time for the hordes of conventioneers. There will be so many they will fill up the Marriott, and the overflow can go down the street to the Hyatt.

CarlA
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CarlA 05/31/12 - 03:40 pm
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What's interesting is that

What's interesting is that Osbon settled for over twice the damages and has a 5 year ban from being a Medicare provider for a "few billing mistakes".

my.voice
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my.voice 05/31/12 - 04:51 pm
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I wonder if the AC "editorial

I wonder if the AC "editorial staff" will be submitting a retraction based on their rather lengthy verbal spanking of those involved in chasing this to ground. Takes a man/woman to admit when he is wrong. And I'd say with the rather firm position they took, that something is in order.

Retired Army
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Retired Army 05/31/12 - 05:25 pm
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my.voice writes:"I wonder if

my.voice writes:"I wonder if the AC "editorial staff" will be submitting a retraction based on their rather lengthy verbal spanking of those involved in chasing this to ground."

Having reviewed the 2011 Chronicle Anonymous Opinion on this matter, I would certainly think there are apology's owed to both Mr. Tarver and Mr. Testino.

AACOS couldn't have been more wrong in their opinion and it will be interesting to watch the disembling or attempt to ignore this issue.

Ol' Austin's street cred seems to have taken a big hit also. Anybody out there listening to his show today? We don't allow malicious gossip in our office.

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 05/31/12 - 05:45 pm
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My apologies Austin. The

My apologies Austin. The article was not as umm.. thorough as it is now when originally posted.

JohnBrownAug
1962
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JohnBrownAug 05/31/12 - 05:53 pm
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What is interesting is that

What is interesting is that the Chronicle wrote such a vigorous editorial defending Osbon and attacking Tarver. This whole episode with the companies is convoluted with Florida bankruptcies involved. I suggest everyone take a hard look at this whole matter again and read the editorial in question with comments.

JohnBrownAug
1962
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JohnBrownAug 05/31/12 - 05:57 pm
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Sort of testy comments on

Sort of testy comments on here asking if people can read.

Ret. Army, honestly, I don't get your comments about the editorial staff. They write as a committee and we all know who they are. Are you trying to find out the specific person who was the lead writer in that editorial? Why does that matter unless Obson had input into the editorial?

JohnBrownAug
1962
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JohnBrownAug 05/31/12 - 06:04 pm
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By the way, here is how the

By the way, here is how the Chronicle closed their editorial in question speaking about Tarver and the federal investigators:

"It appears they'd made up their mind and were looking for any confirmation they could get.
It's too bad the U.S. Attorney's office wouldn't talk to us, because this case stinks on the surface -- and the smell will ultimately attach to that office if this case is as much of a skunk as it looks."

OhWell
326
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OhWell 05/31/12 - 06:12 pm
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Anybody knows who has done

Anybody knows who has done Medical Billing when you operate under the same Tax ID and have the same pay to address for two companies you have committed fraud no matter what you call your company. I am glad he was able to settle this out of court but he and his staff new what they were doing was wrong.

OhWell
326
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OhWell 05/31/12 - 06:12 pm
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Anybody knows who has done

Anybody knows who has done Medical Billing when you operate under the same Tax ID and have the same pay to address for two companies you have committed fraud no matter what you call your company. I am glad he was able to settle this out of court but he and his staff new what they were doing was wrong.

JohnBrownAug
1962
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JohnBrownAug 05/31/12 - 06:17 pm
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From the Chronicle editorial:

From the Chronicle editorial: "It's too bad the U.S. Attorney's office wouldn't talk to us, because this case stinks on the surface -- and the smell will ultimately attach to that office if this case is as much of a skunk as it looks."

It appears to me the U.S. Attorney's Office came out smelling like perfume while the bad smell is elsewhere.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 05/31/12 - 06:28 pm
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Of course there's no way that

Of course there's no way that part of the settlement was the avoidance of criminal charges. That never happens.

Jake
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Jake 05/31/12 - 06:43 pm
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Previous editorial

I remember the previous editorial and re-read it along with the comments, thank you JohnBrownAug. Too bad some of the people that commented are no longer allowed to comment anymore.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 05/31/12 - 06:43 pm
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There NEVER were criminal charges to "avoid".

It was a civil matter TechFan. C-I-V-I-L

From the very beginning.

Truth Matters
6555
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Truth Matters 05/31/12 - 07:08 pm
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Editorial writers

Best wishes to Mr. Osbon regarding his health issue.
As for the AES, who never miss an opportunity to exonerate those whom they like and convict those whom they hold in contempt, that smacking sound is Ryan B remembering how he was treated by this press.

Retired Army
17512
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Retired Army 05/31/12 - 07:42 pm
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3
Tech writes: "Of course

Tech writes: "Of course there's no way that part of the settlement was the avoidance of criminal charges. That never happens."

What's that big word(We know the AACOS doesn't like "big words" from another editorial this fine day)? Oh, yeah "Facetious"(damn sure had to run that one through the spell checker)

Well done Tech. "Smack", Take that Austin.

Retired Army
17512
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Retired Army 05/31/12 - 07:55 pm
3
2
Austin does make a good point

Austin does make a good point about this being only a civil charge.

And no doubt that Mr. Osbon has done many fine things for our community over the years and I bear him no personal anymosity what so ever. It is also sad to hear that the man is in poor health and I'll even say a prayer for his recovery. That is the principled thing to do.

That being said, if Mr. Osbon did in fact willfully miss use the Medicare system to enrich himself and his company why on God's green earth is it not a criminal case of fraud?

Austin is not an attorney(that I'm aware of)and certainly the AACOS, if not mishandled, blew the editorial stance, so both have no credibility with me and other posters on this.

I would therefore ask our resident attorneys on these boards(we know you're out there)what the heck is going on.

Is this an example of buying justice in America?

Retired Army
17512
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Retired Army 05/31/12 - 08:07 pm
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johnbrown writes: "Ret. Army,

Oops double post.

Retired Army
17512
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Retired Army 05/31/12 - 08:09 pm
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johnbrown writes: "Ret. Army,

johnbrown writes: "Ret. Army, honestly, I don't get your comments about the editorial staff. They write as a committee and we all know who they are. Are you trying to find out the specific person who was the lead writer in that editorial? Why does that matter unless Obson had input into the editorial?"

The answer to your question lies in your last sentence. It is my opinion that this staff does publish their opinions as a staff to avoid responsibility in cases just like this one. From the aggressiveness of the original "Opinion" it should be apparent to anyone of common sense that there was a made up mind with a hand in that hit piece. One has to wonder if there is enough embarrassment amongst that group to fess up.

We await with baited breath.

OhWell
326
Points
OhWell 05/31/12 - 08:12 pm
3
1
This was not a white collar

This was not a white collar crime this was a TIDY WHITEY crime a little below the belt.

OhWell
326
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OhWell 05/31/12 - 08:13 pm
3
1
This was not a white collar

This was not a white collar crime this was a TIDY WHITEY crime a little below the belt.

Dixieman
14165
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Dixieman 05/31/12 - 08:29 pm
3
1
Two things

1. Almost all newspapers publish editorials unsigned. This means that the editorial is the collective view of ALL the editorial staff, not one individuals.
2. This was a civil case, not a criminal one, so there is no "guilty" or "not guilty" possible. Civil suits are commonly settled before trial by payment of money from one side to the other.
End of.

JohnBrownAug
1962
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JohnBrownAug 05/31/12 - 09:41 pm
3
0
I don't see anyone here who

I don't see anyone here who doesn't understand the difference in civil and criminal trials. The U.S. Attorney kind of puts the plantiff on a different level, however. Keep in mind, as the editorial says this was the, "government’s civil Medicare fraud case..."

I never could quite understand the Chronicle taking such a stand against the U.S. Attorney in a Medicare FRAUD case. Didn't Mr. Tarver work closely with, some would say mentored, by the Chronicle attorney (smile)? Did he tick off the Chronicle or something by taking Osbon to court?

JohnBrownAug
1962
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JohnBrownAug 05/31/12 - 09:43 pm
3
0
Keep in mind when we discuss

Keep in mind when we discuss the editorial staff, most forget the OTHER member, Mr. Morris. Not that there's anything wrong with that. If I owned the paper I'd dang sure have lots of input to what's said, too.

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