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Lavaca man pleads guilty to stealing millions in Medicare fraud

Billy Joe Taylor used the millions he received from fraudulent Medicare claims to purchase luxury items such as a Rolls Royce Wraith.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — A Lavaca man pleaded guilty on Thursday in federal court for profiting from millions of dollars in healthcare fraud over the course of four years.

Billy Joe Taylor, 43, admitted that he submitted and received thousands of Medicare claims for lab tests that were never ordered between 2017 and 2021.

According to arrest records, Taylor submitted over $100 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, namely for false billings of COVID-19 tests during the beginning of the pandemic. Medicare paid about $38 million in claims.

Taylor obtained Medicare beneficiaries' medical and private information and used that data to repeatedly submit claims to Medicare for diagnostic tests not ordered by medical providers. 

In 2021, the Department of Justice said Taylor used the money he scammed to live a lavish lifestyle, including purchasing numerous luxury automobiles such as a Rolls Royce Wraith, real estate, jewelry, guitars, and other luxury clothing and items.  

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The fraudulent claims were submitted on behalf of five clinical labs tied to Taylor and his co-conspirators:

  • Vitas Laboratory LLC in Barling, Ark.
  • Corrlabs LLC in Southern Pines, N.C.
  • Nations Laboratory Services LLC in Tecumseh, Okla.
  • Beach Tox LLC in Torrance, Calif.
  • Imaginus Diagnostic Laboratory LLC in Spiro, Okla.

More than $130 million in Medicare claims were submitted by these labs during the time they were owned by Taylor, the US Dept. of Justice said in a statement announcing his guilty plea.

Taylor faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for the crimes he pleaded guilty to. A federal district court judge will determine the sentence in about four months, the DOJ said.

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