$750K Medicare fraud leads to prison sentence for former EMS operator

The former operator of a private ambulance service must serve 30 months in federal prison and pay restitution


By Laura French

LONGVIEW, Texas — A Texas man who operated a private ambulance service must serve 30 months in federal prison and pay more than $750,000 in restitution after being convicted for fraudulently billing Medicare and Medicaid.

Joseph Valdie Kimble, who operated non-emergency medical transport service Tiger EMS, pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud in September, according to CBS 19. He was officially sentenced Friday following a plea agreement.

Federal officials in Texas held a press conference in September announcing the guilty plea of Joseph Valdie Kimble, former operator of Tiger EMS. Kimble pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. (Photo/Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Texas)
Federal officials in Texas held a press conference in September announcing the guilty plea of Joseph Valdie Kimble, former operator of Tiger EMS. Kimble pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. (Photo/Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Texas)

Services like Kimble’s are only authorized to bill Medicare and Medicaid if a medical need is demonstrated, but prosecutors said Kimble ignored this requirement and collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in payouts for transports that were not medically necessary.

“Every dollar stolen from Medicare through fraud comes out of the pocket of taxpayers,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown, of the Eastern District of Texas, said in a statement following Kimble’s guilty plea. “These are real costs that help drive up the cost of medical services for everyone. It is important there be real consequences for those who cheat the system.”

The case was investigated by the U.S. Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan R. Jackson.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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