Arkansas man charged in $88 million federal COVID fraud scheme

Crime

LAVACA, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A 42-year-old Arkansas man was charged by criminal complaint with health care fraud on Wednesday in connection to an alleged scheme to defraud the United States of over $88 million, according to a release from the Department of Justice.

Billy Joe Taylor, of Lavaca, is accused of making over $42 million in false and fraudulent claims during the COVID-19 health emergency.

The investigation is part of COVID-19 health care fraud schemes across the country that resulted in over $143 million in false billings

According to the Western District of Arkansas, Taylor, the owner and operator of Vitas Laboratories, LLC and Beach Tox, LLC, which are two testing laboratories, allegedly used access to beneficiary and medical provider information from prior lab testing orders to submit fraudulent claims for urine drug tests and other laboratory tests.

These tests included respiratory pathogen panel and COVID-19 tests, that were not actually ordered or performed.

Hundreds of claims were also submitted for beneficiaries after they had died or “otherwise ceased providing samples,” the complaint alleges.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel James Hayes and Trial Attorney D. Keith Clouser of the National Rapid Response Strike Force, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Elser of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas.

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