FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Lavaca man now representing himself in a $100 million COVID-19 fraud case recently had half a dozen motions denied in federal court.
Billy Joe Taylor, 43, is charged with 16 counts of health care fraud and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property. On July 8, after multiple previous changes in representation, Taylor requested and was granted the right to represent himself.
On September 2, Judge P.K. Holmes III issued an Opinion and Order in the Western District of Arkansas Federal Court in Fort Smith, denying six motions that Taylor filed over the past month and a half. They included a request for release.
Taylor had his $100,000 bail revoked in December 2021 after he committed multiple violations of his terms of release, according to court documents, including engaging in criminal activity and contacting victims or potential trial witnesses.
“The fact that Mr. Taylor has chosen to represent himself has no bearing on this Court’s
previous findings that he is a flight risk, poses a danger to the community, and is unlikely to abide
by any condition or combination of conditions of release,” said Judge Holmes in the ruling.
“For the most part, these requests are procedurally redundant,” the judge added in reference to Taylor’s other motions.
One pertained to Taylor’s request for a computer and extended access to it in order to mount his defense.
Mr. Taylor concedes that he has been provided with a computer on which to store the
voluminous discovery in this case. Presumably, then, he has been given some amount of access to some room where this computer and possibly other materials may be stored.
The Court cannot discern from Mr. Taylor’s motion whether he is saying that he lacks meaningful access to the computer or whether he would simply prefer a fancier chair and desk than he currently has; obviously these two scenarios present very different concerns. The Court would imagine that this room also contains some sort of table on which the computer rests and some sort of seating apparatus for the person who is using the computer. However, the Court is not presently in a position to make any findings as to whether that is the case, because Mr. Taylor has not provided the Court any information on which to base such a finding.Judge P.K. Holmes III, Western District of Arkansas Federal Judge, September 2 Opinion and Order
The Judge also cited case law that brings into question whether an inmate is “entitled to legal resources over and above what are provided to the general inmate population,” regarding Taylor’s request for a printer, copier and unmonitored phone line, among other items.
“He elected to represent himself notwithstanding the extraordinary complexity of that case,” Judge Holmes noted.
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 was medically unnecessary, not ordered by medical providers, and/or not provided as represented. The indictment states that Taylor controlled and directed multiple diagnostic laboratories, and used those labs to submit more than $100 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare.
Each of the counts is punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.