Lavaca man charged in $100 million COVID-19 health care fraud scheme

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FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A federal grand jury in the Western District of Arkansas returned an indictment on Tuesday charging a Lavaca man who owned or managed numerous diagnostic testing laboratories with health care fraud in connection with over $100 million dollars in false billings.

Billy Joe Taylor, 42, is charged with 16 counts of health care fraud, and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property.

According to court documents, Taylor engaged in a scheme between February, 2017 and May, 2021 in connection with diagnostic laboratory testing, including urine drug testing and tests for respiratory illnesses during the COVID-19 pandemic that were medically unnecessary, not ordered by medical providers, and/or not provided as represented.

According to the indictment, Taylor controlled and directed multiple diagnostic laboratories, and used those labs to submit more than $100 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare.

The indictment alleges that Taylor obtained medical information and private personal information for Medicare beneficiaries, and then misused that confidential information to repeatedly submit claims to Medicare for diagnostic tests that were not ordered by medical providers and were not actually performed by the laboratories.

Taylor allegedly then used the proceeds of the fraud to purchase numerous automobiles, including a Rolls Royce Wraith, as well as real estate, jewelry, guitars, clothing and other items, according to a release from the Department of Justice.

The defendant is scheduled for his arraignment on November 23, 2021, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark E. Ford of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.

Each of the counts is punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Taylor was previously charged by criminal complaint in May, 2021.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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