LAVACA, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A local man is accused of defrauding the federal government after making over $42 million in false and fraudulent claims during the COVID-19 health emergency and his neighbors are reacting.

I’m shocked.

RENEASHA TEAGUE, NEIGHBOR

Reneasha Teague lives across the street from Billy Joe Taylor, the man charged on Wednesday, May 25, with health care fraud in connection to an alleged scheme to defraud the United States for over $88 million.

Half of that was taken just in the past year and a few months during the COVID-19 health emergency.

CONNOR HAGAN, LITTLE ROCK FBI

Teague said in all her years living in Central City, she can’t believe something like this could happen right across the street.

“I don’t know what to say, I’m speechless,” she said. “I wish I would’ve known this was really going on way before this.” 

Investigators said Taylor used false test results for COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses to receive government money.

He now faces federal health care fraud charges.

It’s a pretty serious indictment we’re bringing against him.

CONNOR HAGAN, LITTLE ROCK FBI

The FBI conducted two large-scale raids in the River Valley on Tuesday, May 25, in connection to this investigation.

They took things Taylor bought with his fraud money.

Those included high-end luxury vehicles, jewelry, high-end electronics, a whole bunch of stuff.

CONNOR HAGAN, LITTLE ROCK FBI

Teague said she noticed Taylor’s home continuing to get more luxurious within the past year, but this is something she never would’ve seen coming.

“All my years of living here, it’s shocking,” she said.

The FBI told KNWA/FOX24 as of Wednesday, Taylor is in U.S. Marshal custody.