A 42-year-old Sebastian County man who owned several testing laboratories was indicted Tuesday in an alleged scheme to defraud the federal government of more than $100 million in false billings for urine drug testing, COVID-19 testing and other clinical lab services.
A federal grand jury in the Western District of Arkansas returned an indictment against Billy Joe Taylor of Lavaca with 16 counts of health care fraud and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally-derived property, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas. The $100 million in alleged false billings is one of the highest amounts of health care fraud in Arkansas’ history.
Taylor had been charged by a federal criminal complaint with health care fraud in May, but had not been indicted until Tuesday.
The news release said that Taylor used labs that he controlled to file more than $100 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare between February 2017 and May 2021.
His labs include Vitas Laboratories LLC of Barling (Sebastian County) and Beach Tox LLC of Torrance, California.
“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,” the news release said. “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.”
Taylor denied allegations of wrongdoing to Arkansas Business last month. Taylor called the allegations a “sensationalism-type claim” by the government, “completely erroneous and false.”
He said he vowed to fight the allegation. He also is fighting federal attempts to seize his home and other properties that the government says were bought with the proceeds of the alleged crimes.
Each of the counts is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Taylor is scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 23 in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark E. Ford.