FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Lavaca man charged in a $100 million COVID-19 fraud case has changed his defense strategy once again.
Billy Joe Taylor, 43, is charged with 16 counts of healthcare fraud and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property. On July 8, after multiple previous changes in representation, Taylor requested and was granted the right to represent himself in court.
After multiple handwritten motions filed by Taylor were summarily dismissed by the court, he has changed course and obtained counsel again. In an October 19 court filing, Ken Osborne submitted an entry of appearance.
Osborne had been appointed as “standby counsel” once Taylor chose to represent himself. The filing notes that his re-entrance in this case comes at Taylor’s request.
On September 7, the court denied six motions that Taylor submitted after he began representing himself, stating that “for the most part, these requests are procedurally redundant.” On September 19, Taylor filed a 10-page, handwritten motion asking the court to reconsider.
That motion was denied by Judge P.K. Holmes III on September 26, who said that “Mr. Taylor’s latest motion does not offer any new law or facts that would warrant departure from any of this Court’s prior rulings.”
According to court documents, Taylor engaged in a scheme between February 2017 and May 2021 in connection with diagnostic laboratory testing, including urine drug testing and tests for respiratory illnesses during the COVID-19 pandemic that was medically unnecessary, not ordered by medical providers, and/or not provided as represented. The indictment states that Taylor controlled and directed multiple diagnostic laboratories, and used those labs to submit more than $100 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare.
Each of the counts is punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.