Lavaca man sentenced in $134 million COVID-19 health care fraud and money laundering scheme


Date: June 8, 2023


A Lavaca, Arkansas, man was sentenced today to 15 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $29,835,825.99 in restitution for conspiracy to commit health care fraud and money laundering.

Billy Joe Taylor pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and money laundering on October 27, 2022. According to court documents, Taylor and his co-conspirators submitted more than $134 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare 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 not provided as represented. Taylor and his co-conspirators 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. According to court documents, Taylor and his co-conspirators received more than $38 million from Medicare on those fraudulent claims.

U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes for the Western District of Arkansas; Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department's Criminal Division; Special Agent in Charge Christopher Altemus of the IRS-Criminal Investigation, Dallas Field Office; Special Agent in Charge James A. Dawson, of the FBI's Little Rock division; and Special Agent in Charge Jason Meadows of the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Dallas Regional Office, made the announcement

IRS-Criminal Investigation, the FBI, and HHS-OIG investigated the case.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Elser of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Arkansas and Senior Litigation Counsel Jim Hayes and Trial Attorney D. Keith Clouser of the Criminal Division's Fraud Section's National Rapid Response Strike Force prosecuted the case.

The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division's efforts to combat health care fraud through the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program. Since March 2007, this program, comprised of 15 strike forces operating in 25 federal districts, has charged more than 5,000 defendants who collectively have billed federal health care programs and private insurers more than $24 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, are taking steps to hold providers accountable for their involvement in health care fraud schemes.