Judgment for Litigation Funding Firm Defrauded by Texas Lawyer

A New Jersey litigation funding firm, American Asset Finance LLC, has reportedly been awarded a $960,000 judgment against a Texas lawyer who fraudulently borrowed $400,000 for fake law suits.  The owner of American Asset Finance, Tim Foley, is pleased that justice has been done, but is concerned that the defendant, Texas lawyer Gwendolyn Climmons-Johnson, who has been licensed to practice law in Texas for 25 years, is judgment proof.  This is because Climmons-Johnson was convicted in June of this year of using the EMS company that she owned to defraud Medicare in the amount of $2.4 million/

According to an FBI press release:

Gwendolyn Climmons-Johnson, 54, was convicted by a federal jury in Houston, Texas, on October 30, 2013, of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and four counts of health care fraud. In addition to the prison sentence, Climmons-Johnson was also sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $972,132 in restitution.

According to evidence presented at trial, Climmons-Johnson was the owner and operator of Urgent Response EMS, a Texas-based entity that purportedly provided non-emergency ambulance services to Medicare beneficiaries in the Houston area. The evidence showed that from January 2010 through December 2011, Climmons-Johnson and others conspired to enrich themselves by submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for ambulance services that were medically unnecessary and/or not provided. Climmons-Johnson, who controlled the day-to-day operations of Urgent Response, submitted, and caused to be submitted, approximately $2.4 million in fraudulent ambulance service claims to Medicare.

At trial, the evidence showed that patient records had been falsified and the Medicare beneficiaries for whom Climmons-Johnson had billed ambulance services did not need ambulance services and were not in the condition stated in the records.

This is just another example of why crime never pays.  We are always amazed to see lawyers who think they can get away with fraud and other forms of financial dishonesty.  No matter how difficult it is to work hard for a living, the office is better than a federal prison cell any day of the week!

(Hat Tip: ABA Journal).

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