Grand Jury issues indictment against Lavaca man for COVID testing fraud scheme

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 534 views 

A federal grand jury in the Western District of Arkansas had indicted Billy Joe Taylor of Lavaca with health care fraud in connection with over $100 million dollars in false billings for urine drug testing, COVID-19 testing, and other clinical laboratory services.

Taylor, 42, was initially charged in May with the fraud scheme in May as part of charges against 14 defendants in seven U.S. federal districts for their alleged participation in the fraudulent schemes.

Taylor, the owner and operator of Vitas Laboratories and Beach Tox, 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 live a lavish lifestyle, including purchasing numerous luxury automobiles, including a Rolls Royce Wraith, as well as real estate, jewelry, guitars, and other luxury clothing and items,” noted a statement from the office of U.S. Attorney or the Western District of Arkansas.

Taylor is charged with 16 counts of health care fraud, and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property. Taylor was previously charged by criminal complaint in May 2021. Taylor is scheduled for arraignment on Nov 23, 2021, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark 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.