Osbon told city he was closing business

Letter contradicts earlier claims

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Augusta businessman Julian Osbon told the city of Augusta he was closing a company at the heart of a federal civil lawsuit against him alleging Medicare fraud, according to a letter obtained under the Georgia Open Records Act.

The letter contradicts his earlier statements, and that might create "a problem" for him, Osbon acknowledged, but he said it does not change his contention that he has done nothing wrong.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia is pursuing a civil lawsuit against Osbon and Augusta Medical Systems, a company Osbon once owned.

The suit claims that in 2003 Osbon closed one company, Soma Blue Inc., which had a valid Medicare license but was facing $190,000 in legal judgments, and subsequently started Augusta Medical Systems. Before it obtained a valid Medicare license, the new company used Soma Blue's Medicare provider number for more than a year to bill Medicare for more than $690,000, the U.S. Attorney's Office contends.

As evidence that Soma Blue closed, the suit points to a Feb. 11, 2003, notification to the Augusta Licensing and Inspection Department that the company was ceasing operations.

Osbon has said he did not shut the company down then and that the city had no proof that any such notice was given. He said while he had intended to close Soma Blue, he was forced to operate the two companies side by side over that period, with Soma Blue billing for Medicare patients, until Augusta Medical got its own Medicare number. Both companies were wholly owned by Osbon and sold vacuum therapy devices to treat erectile dysfunction.

Osbon filed an Open Records Act request in September with the city asking for proof of its position and was provided a single screen capture showing a notation that the business end date for Soma Blue was Feb. 11, 2003. After a recent Augusta Chronicle story repeated the city's position that the business had closed then, Osbon fired off a letter to Licensing and Inspection Director Rob Sherman and Augusta commissioners claiming that he had a valid business license for Soma Blue for 2003 and that the company had not closed. If the city could not prove otherwise or change its position, "I will be forced to seek compensation" for subsequent legal expenses, Osbon wrote.

Sherman then found the letter dated Feb. 11, 2003, asking the city to terminate the business license of Soma Blue. The letter says Soma Blue closed on Jan. 31, 2003, and Augusta Medical Systems began the next day, with assets from Soma being transferred to the new company

"The name Soma Blue will continue to be used for several months in order to facilitate the conversion of customer accounts and vendors," the letter reads. "However, Augusta Medical Systems will be the legal reporting entity for sales tax, income tax, property tax and all other required filings."

The letter is signed by Osbon, and he says it is his signature.

"I think our position really doesn't change very much because we knew we were trying to shut the company down," Osbon said. "I did not remember this letter, but I'm not surprised by it because that's the kind of letter an attorney probably wrote for me."

While he questions why it didn't turn up in the earlier search, and it is not in his own files, it doesn't mean that Soma Blue couldn't operate with a valid Medicare number.

"The bottom line is even if I was guilty of everything they're claiming, I'm really not guilty of anything because every claim that we made on Medicare was done through that license," Osbon said. "It was a legitimate license. The license was issued in my name. I owned that company. The license didn't change hands. If you look at the letter, the letter did say there are some matters that have to be resolved before Soma Blue is no longer being used. Our claim is the Medicare license (for Augusta Medical Systems) not being issued is one of them."

While it calls into question the validity of Soma Blue's Augusta business license, that is not a federal matter, Osbon said.

"Now, we might have been subject to some kind of penalty from the city of Augusta," he said. "But it would not have prevented us from doing what we were doing. From my perspective, it does create a problem but it doesn't change things. We had the intention all along of closing the business down."

And ultimately the patients and Medicare got what they paid for, Osbon said.

"As far as taking care of the patient, we did everything right," he said. "We did not overcharge; we did not charge for something we didn't deliver."

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mable8
2
Points
mable8 07/03/10 - 04:54 am
0
0
Does he really expect people

Does he really expect people to believe his story????? Fraud is fraud, no matter how you slice it.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 07/03/10 - 06:48 am
0
0
O-o-o-o, caught in a tangled

O-o-o-o, caught in a tangled web of red tape and potential hair splitting. Now would be a good time to have a pleasant demeanor and history to call on. The bureaucrats in the fed live for this kind of tussle and they have plenty of resources. This is going to get ugly for Osbon.

disssman
6
Points
disssman 07/03/10 - 07:16 am
0
0
Another one of those poor top

Another one of those poor top 1% folks talked about in the LTR today.

corgimom
36419
Points
corgimom 07/03/10 - 08:07 am
0
0
"The bottom line is even if I

"The bottom line is even if I was guilty of everything they're claiming, I'm really not guilty of anything because every claim that we made on Medicare was done through that license," Osbon said.

"From my perspective, it does create a problem"

Yeah, and from the Feds' perspective, it creates a problem, too.

These statements are just downright funny.

Austin Rhodes
2970
Points
Austin Rhodes 07/03/10 - 08:08 am
0
0
Is all this about catching

Is all this about catching bogus paperwork transactions that while technically REQUIRED, don't REALLY constitute ripping anyone off, or selling inferior devices, OR foisting unneeded devices on people?

All you "insiders" that claim to have all the dirt on this case, explain to me what was done, aside from paperwork shortcuts (which I understand is a no-no) that so greatly benefits Osbon or puts Medicare funds in his pocket that would not be there anyway if all the "i"s were dotted and "t"s were crossed.

I would appreciate that clarification.

HELPNEEDED
0
Points
HELPNEEDED 07/03/10 - 08:32 am
0
0
Austin, Trust me on this

Austin,

Trust me on this one---in Julian's mind, he thought he was so smart he could get around a federal lawsuit against Soma Blue by shutting down one company and starting another. This didn't even work. The lawsuit was transferred to him personally when the Federal Government/Judges realized what he was attempting to do. Great example of ALL OUT Greed and Pride running wild!! He was told by members of his managment team that he COULD NOT bill under the Soma Blue number--that would be Medicare Fraud. He did it anyway so he could keep getting money from Medicare. This is FRAUD anyway you dice it up!

If he really didn't do this intentionally, why keep two sets of books? This man put too much time in to creating a scheme to keep the Medicare money rolling at all cost--even if it was illegal! Now he has gotten caught and will have to pay for his poor choices.

Julian is very fortunate that he has not been criminally indicted. This was not some paperwork error, I can assure you. Mr. Osbon operates to the beat of his own drum. He does not believe he has to abide by the same laws and guidelines as us normal folks.

Nice to see the TRUTH coming out. Will you talk about the TRUTH on your show or will you continue to try and protect your family friend?

Riverman1
90181
Points
Riverman1 07/03/10 - 08:53 am
0
0
Well, well,

Well, well, well...interesting how all this is playing out as many of us commented here in the AC and picked up on the inconsistencies. Ha...is about all that needs to be said to gloat a bit. I'd like for Osbon to show the Feds a "copy of the license" also. That would open lots of doors.

He shut down SomaBlue because it owed lots of money and the people wanted to be paid. They finally had to go after him personally. But he still wanted to use their Medicare license. It's pretty obvious what happened.

The way Osbon justifies these actions in his mind is revealing. I was doing nothing wrong, yada, yada, yada. Yet, ever single revelation shows his lies. It's the U.S. Attorney trying to get me. Such stupid audacity hasn't been seen around here in a long time.

Austin, since you slammed me and others on your show, reading our Chronicle comments out of context and offering your own fallacious opinions, maybe it's time for you to turn on Osbon as you FINALLY HAD TO DO WITH ROBIN WILLIAMS WHEN THE EVIDENCE BECAME OVERWHELMING. Ha, again.

ReverseApacheMaster
0
Points
ReverseApacheMaster 07/03/10 - 08:57 am
0
0
riverman will clear all this

riverman will clear all this up

ReverseApacheMaster
0
Points
ReverseApacheMaster 07/03/10 - 08:57 am
0
0
and boom goes the dynamite

and boom goes the dynamite

Riverman1
90181
Points
Riverman1 07/03/10 - 08:59 am
0
0
ReverseApacheMaster, will

ReverseApacheMaster, will offer nothing.

Riverman1
90181
Points
Riverman1 07/03/10 - 09:01 am
0
0
Ah, but I love this Austin,

Ah, but I love this Austin, the radio personality, slams people posting the truth in the most childish ways on his show and it turns out he is wrong. Do we get an apology? Nope. So Austin, the radio personality, made news with his "cowardly" comments on the air. Ha

Ole School
0
Points
Ole School 07/03/10 - 09:21 am
0
0
I heard from a good source

I heard from a good source that this guy ruled the roust till the little blue pill and then WHAM !... he ran into something hard , that put his " ace card " out .... also he is a Money Hungry fella ......... whom thought he was above the law........

scoopdedoop64
2482
Points
scoopdedoop64 07/03/10 - 09:32 am
0
0
Austin, what he did was

Austin, what he did was simple. He owed money so rather than pay it he shut his business down. Then he still wanted to use the old medicare number for his new business. How did he benefit? He benefited by making sales he could have never made if medicare had not been available for the patients. Fact: Our actions reveal our character Fact: Osbon's actions revealed his character Fact: Osbon skirted around the rules to benefit his own business Fact: Osbon has always been one to put himself above all others when it concerns money. Your loyalty is commendable. Your attacking the commentators of this forum on your show is deploriable.

Fiat_Lux
16200
Points
Fiat_Lux 07/03/10 - 09:37 am
0
0
As much as I enjoy Julian's

As much as I enjoy Julian's discomfiture, I really don't see how this is much of anything other than a money grab by the feds. His company didn't rip people off or appear to have tried to do that. The reimbursements from Medicare were for the cost of the devices that were delivered to Medicare patients. The only flaw is in the license accuracy/validity, for a provider (Osbon) who had had valid licenses for many years up to that point.

This seems to deserve a simple fine for a paperwork mistake rather than a huge, ruinous penalty for attempting to defraud the government. If it were an attempt to defraud, where's the money?

Riverman1
90181
Points
Riverman1 07/03/10 - 09:38 am
0
0
"Your attacking the

"Your attacking the commentators of this forum on your show is deplorable."

It certainly is. Plus he adheres to no TOS in his remarks on the air. If we respond in like here, it is against the rules. The Chronicle shouldn't allow him to publicly use comments made here in derogatory ways even if they are made in another media form. It violates the spirit of the TOS.

Fiat_Lux
16200
Points
Fiat_Lux 07/03/10 - 09:41 am
0
0
BTW, I don't see that

BTW, I don't see that shutting down Soma Blue removed it's fiduciary obligations for Osbon. He still had to pay off those bills. Starting the other company was simply a way to keep doing business while limiting the size of the Soma Blue money hemorrhage.

Riverman1
90181
Points
Riverman1 07/03/10 - 09:48 am
0
0
Fiat, here is the thing. Soma

Fiat, here is the thing. Soma Blue owed lots (probably milions). He "foreclosed" on it to avoid paying the creditors who later sued him in Florida according to previous articles. Yet, he continues to use the company's Medicare number and indicated the company wasn't really closed. Either he was lying about SomaBlue being closed or he is lying now and saying it was open.

Deciding which lie to believe gets to be absurd as he says he has a valid business license while Mr. Sherman says he has a letter from Osbon stating "Soma Blue closed on Jan. 31, 2003, and Augusta Medical Systems began the next day, with assets from Soma being transferred to the new company."

Lying to creditors in federal court about the existence of a business is a federal crime I'd imagine. Having a bogus business license is also a crime I'd imagine.

Riverman1
90181
Points
Riverman1 07/03/10 - 09:51 am
0
0
Fiat, the older article said

Fiat, the older article said those creditors had to go after Osbon PERSONALLY in federal court because Soma Blue had been "foreclosed."

Plus, don't forget the statements about how he had "secured debt" from Soma Blue. He could foreclose, get his secured debt and leave the other creditors out.

Indigo
4
Points
Indigo 07/03/10 - 09:49 am
0
0
River,......seems Austin is

River,......seems Austin is looking for clarification. Regardless of the claims, I'd say we should let the courts figure this out. Speculation is like forecasting the rain, its rarely 100% accurate.

scoopdedoop64
2482
Points
scoopdedoop64 07/03/10 - 09:51 am
0
0
Fiat, I agree that his

Fiat, I agree that his actions may have not been criminal although that is not for me to decide. But when he is trying to sell his medical devices to men mostly on medicare then his business would be extremely poor if he cannot guarantee medicare will pay their part. No sell equals no business. He knew that he did not have a medicare number to file for money for the devices so he used the one from his old company. He purposely did this to sell more devices for which his company would reap the benefits. Please keep this in mind.

Little Lamb
47857
Points
Little Lamb 07/03/10 - 09:52 am
0
0
Fiat Lux said: I really don't

Fiat Lux said:

I really don't see how this is much of anything other than a money grab by the feds. His company didn't rip people off or appear to have tried to do that. The reimbursements from Medicare were for the cost of the devices that were delivered to Medicare patients. The only flaw is in the license accuracy/validity, for a provider (Osbon) who had had valid licenses for many years up to that point.

I think you make a good point.

Fiat Lux said:

I don't see that shutting down Soma Blue removed it's fiduciary obligations for Osbon. He still had to pay off those bills.

RM is correct in saying that the Chronicle used the “foreclosure” term. But I think the idea was to siphon off the hard assets of Sonoma Blue to the new company, and then declare bankruptcy to have the debts wiped out.

Riverman1
90181
Points
Riverman1 07/03/10 - 10:15 am
0
0
LL said, "RM is correct in

LL said, "RM is correct in saying that the Chronicle used the “foreclosure” term. But I think the idea was to siphon off the hard assets of Sonoma Blue to the new company, and then declare bankruptcy to have the debts wiped out."

Sure, that's it in a nutshell. Remember him saying he had "secured debt" from the old company.

But he didn't want to give up his use of their Medicare license. That license had value. Do you think the creditors who had to go after him personally knew about the value of that license and that he was using it? No, but heck, no.

Riverman1
90181
Points
Riverman1 07/03/10 - 10:09 am
0
0
Duplicate

Duplicate

Discussionstarter
495
Points
Discussionstarter 07/03/10 - 10:13 am
0
0
Another example of

Another example of corruption. Jail time in SC! He and Charles can share the Augusta Chronicle every day!

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 07/03/10 - 10:36 am
0
0
the more that comes out on

the more that comes out on this matter.. the more Osbon comes out looking like a crook. I do wish they would look into the TEE Center bribery scandal too..they may find some Osbon all over that too

scoopdedoop64
2482
Points
scoopdedoop64 07/03/10 - 10:51 am
0
0
Emerydan, you are right but I

Emerydan, you are right but I think when all is said and done he will end up making some settlement and we will never see anymore and Austin will still believe he is a great guy and those of us who have a different opinion will still believe he is what he is: a guy that is very much self centered and will do whatever it takes to make another buck. Also, Emerydan, I met up with Lori Davis and she is a pretty good lady and I wish her well for mayor. I believe she would be much more proactive on the issues that matter for us.

corgimom
36419
Points
corgimom 07/03/10 - 11:34 am
0
0
Either a business is shut

Either a business is shut down or it's not.

It appears that when it suited Osborn's purposes, it was shut down, but when it suited his purposes, it wasn't.

That's fraud, any way you look at it. And it appears that he did it solely to avoid paying a lawful judgment.

Osborn is trying to say "I was helping people! I was helping people, so that makes it ok!" No, it doesn't, and tell that to the people that were awarded a judgment against him.

Nobody gets to bill Medicare without a legitimate license, and he's not above the law.

This isn't about "taking care of the patients"; it's about breaking Federal laws and avoiding a legal judgment.

I think it's ironic that Austin Rhodes, who has mentioned many times about receiving a judgment against Ryan B., seems to think that his friend Osborn shouldn't have to pay a judgment that was levied against HIM. When the shoe is on the other foot, you know?

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 07/03/10 - 11:49 am
0
0
Those Osborn devices were way
Unpublished

Those Osborn devices were way over priced anyway. They targeted Medicare recipients apparently in order to get more money for them. You can buy these "ppumps" all day long on the internet for less than 100.00. Medicare should have priced their payout based on the "going rate" instead of what Osborn said they were worth and billed for them. Actually, I can't imagine anyone being so poor they'd need medicare to pay for these things. Reminds me of the ads on TV for the Mobility Chairs, great emphasis is made that In most cases the cost is paid for by Medicare, and "if we prequalify you for medicare payment and it does not go through, your chair is free".... Sounds superlative to me.

scoopdedoop64
2482
Points
scoopdedoop64 07/03/10 - 11:55 am
0
0
that's right corgimom, when

that's right corgimom, when its people we like or more so if it us in question we are always more prone to use a different set of scales to weight justice. Using the medicare number for a business you closed down and does not exist any longer is wrong period. I sometimes think deep down Osbon really regretted selling his business but he has always seemed to let dollars guide him. Maybe he has tried to rebuild something that is better left to others now. Either way you can't justify what he did just to build another business.

Corgimom, you mentioned about breaking federal laws. From my previous posts you know how sometimes those laws really irk me if it goes against my convictions. But one thing is for sure. If we are to be a civilized society then we must have laws and they must apply to everyone no matter who they are. If we think a law is bad or unjust then we make efforts to change them not break them.

Boogaloo
1
Points
Boogaloo 07/03/10 - 02:29 pm
0
0
Just a question here. Do

Just a question here. Do penis pumps inflate the penis to a much larger size than it really is? If so, where do you get one?

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