FORT SMITH -- The sentencing for a Lavaca man who pleaded guilty in federal court last year to one count each of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and money laundering is set for this summer.
U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes signed an amended scheduling order Jan. 19 resetting the sentencing hearing for Billy Joe Taylor, according to court records. It will now be at 10 a.m. July 19 in Fort Smith before Holmes, who previously set it for March 8.
Taylor, 44, pleaded not guilty Nov. 23, 2021, to 16 charges of health care fraud and one charge of money laundering after being indicted Nov. 2, court records state. He had been charged by criminal complaint in May 2021.
However, Taylor entered an agreement Oct. 27 in which he consented to pleading guilty to the two charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and money laundering.
Taylor admitted in his plea agreement that, from about November 2017 through May 2021, he and co-conspirators submitted and received payment for thousands of Medicare claims totaling millions of dollars for lab tests never ordered by the referring medical provider nor done for the benefit of the patient on the claims, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Arkansas.
The fraudulent claims were submitted on behalf of five clinical labs during the time they were owned or controlled by Taylor and his co-conspirators, namely, Vitas Laboratory in Barling; Corrlabs LLC in Southern Pines, N.C.; Nations Laboratory Services LLC in Tecumseh, Okla.; Beach Tox LLC in Torrance, Calif.; and Imaginus Diagnostic Laboratory LLC in Spiro, Okla., according to the release.
"More than $130 million in Medicare claims were submitted by these labs during the time they were owned or controlled by Taylor and his co-conspirators and Medicare paid approximately $38 million on these claims," the release states.
Taylor faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, according to the release.