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Arkansas man pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit $130 million health care fraud



Billy Joe Taylor, 43, of Lavaca, pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiracy to commit $130 million in health care fraud in federal court in Fort Smith. The negotiated plea deal came after the multi-agency effort that resulted in Taylor’s indictment, accused of billing Medicaid for tests he didn’t perform over the span of three and a half years.

Our team has been following this case and we already informed that Taylor and his co-conspirators submitted and received payment for thousands of Medicare claims for lab tests that had never been ordered by the referring medical provider or performed for the benefit of the beneficiary listed on the claims.

In the period from November 2017 to May 2021, Taylor and his co-conspirators submitted Medicare claims worth more than $130 million, but Medicare paid “only” $38 million before the investigation was started and future Medicare payments were halted.

The Department of Justice revealed that a total of five labs were involved in the fraudulent activities, including Vitas Laboratory LLC in Barling, Arkansas, Corrlabs LLC in Southern Pines, North Carolina, Nations Laboratory Services LLC in Tecumseh, Oklahoma, Beach Tox LLC in Torrance, California, and Imaginus Diagnostic Laboratory LLC in Spiro, Oklahoma.

All of the labs involved in the case were controlled or owned by Taylor and his co-conspirators.

Taylor pleaded guilty to two counts — one of conspiracy and one of money laundering. Two other charges that Taylor initially faced would be dismissed under the agreement.

The investigation was conducted in stages by several agencies and institutions, including the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation department, the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and local law-enforcement agencies.

Under the plea agreement, Taylor accepted a $38 million judgment, but this amount might be reduced by seized real property, vehicles, and any restitution made to victims.

Sentencing should take place in about four months’ time. Taylor faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each count he pleaded guilty to, or 20 years in total. In the plea agreement, Taylor said that he is taking responsibility for his actions in the past, which makes him eligible for a reduced sentence, which has yet to be determined by a federal district court judge.