Local Music Producer and Club Owner Convicted on Multiple Federal Charges
|Nov. 29, 2011|
HOUSTON - Julian Kimble, 46, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and tax evasion, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Kimble is the owner of Pearl Records and Pearl Entertainment and investor in Grooves Restaurant & Lounge.
During the plea hearing before United States District Judge David Hittner this afternoon, Kimble admitted that from March 2008 through December 2010, he owned and operated four ambulance companies - Monarch Ambulance, Tamimi International Inc. dba Universal Care, Houston EMS dba XTRA Care Inc., and HKO Group Inc. dba Delta Care EMS. In his operation of these companies, Kimble routinely billed Medicare for basic life support (BLS) ambulance transports that were not provided, not needed or not ordered by the treating physicians.
None of the four ambulance companies operated by Kimble owned licensed ambulance vehicles necessary to provide the BLS transports for which he billed Medicare. Kimble used third-parties and straw owners to register the ambulance companies with the Texas Department of Health. He, and the other members of the conspiracy, often transported multiple beneficiaries at the same time in vans or sedans, fraudulently billing Medicare for allegedly providing individual transports in ambulances under the attention of qualified emergency medical personnel. In addition, Kimble received kickbacks from the owners of different community mental health centers (CMHCs) in the Houston area in exchange for supplying patients to their facilities. Under Kimble’s direction, Medicare beneficiaries received payments in exchange for agreeing to be transported to different CMHC facilities around the Houston area. From 2008 through December 2010, Kimble’s companies fraudulently billed Medicare for approximately $8.7 million and received payment for approximately $3.6 million.
To conceal the proceeds of the health care fraud, Kimble withdrew funds from the business accounts of the different ambulance companies, keeping part of those funds and using the remainder to pay kickbacks to patients. From the funds fraudulently obtained from Medicare, Kimble issued checks for thousands of dollars to other conspirators, who, after cashing the checks, would return part of the cash to Kimble, use another part of the money to recruit patients and keep the remainder of the money for themselves. From August to December 2010, conspirators received checks from Kimble totaling more than $1 million. No part of this money was reported as taxable income.
Kimble was also charged and convicted of tax evasion as a result of a prior investigation into his ownership of Pearl Ambulance Service from 1998-2007. Kimble admitted during the re-arraignment hearing that he overstated the business expenses for Pearl Ambulance in his tax returns for 2003-2007. Additionally, he claimed business expenses from Pearl Records, his music business, in his tax returns for Pearl Ambulance which resulted in a zero dollar tax liability for Pearl Ambulance. Kimble failed to file corporate tax returns for Pearl during this time until his assets were about to be seized. When he did file, the delinquent returns were discovered to be materially false.
Previously released on bond, Kimble was immediately remanded into federal custody following the plea hearing today pending his sentencing hearing, which is set for Feb. 22, 2012. At that time, he faces up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to commit health care fraud. For his money laundering conviction, he faces an additional 20 years in prison and an a $500,000 fine in addition to a up to five years in prison and a $100,000 fine for tax evasion.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations and the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General. Special Assistant United States Attorneys Justo A. Mendez and Justin S. Blan are prosecuting the case.