Billy Joe Taylor, a previously unknown poker player, has fast become a star on TCH Live, a poker livestream of high-stakes cash game sessions from the Texas Card House (TCH) in Dallas. The Arkansas player has left a mark among poker viewers because of his loose-aggressive game style. Known on-screen as “Bildo”, he likes to take huge risks at the table and thrives upon it.
Now, Taylor has hit the headlines not because of his poker abilities, but because he was indicted for a multi-million dollar health care fraud.
Taylor’s Multi-Million Medical Fraud Scheme Unveiled
An investigation into Taylor’s criminal activities could answer some questions as to where and how he gets his money to afford playing the game like a “special type of whale” as one player has described him on Twitter.
Taylor has now been exposed by authorities as the perpetrator of a massive fraud scheme to the tune of $88 million, involving government-funded COVID-19 testing incentives and false billings.
Taylor allegedly carried out his criminal scheme through two medical laboratories that he owns, Vitas Laboratories LLC in Arkansas, and Beach Tox LLC in California.
According to the federal complaint filed against Taylor, he allegedly obtained names and social security numbers of people listed as beneficiaries of government-funded tests and then billed Medicare for tests that were never conducted. That accounted for $42 million of the $88 million that Taylor was able to amass through his scheme which allegedly began as early as November 2017.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) claims that both labs issued bills to the US government for COVID-19 tests that were never performed, sometimes using the names of deceased people and doctors who never ordered the tests.
One of those medical facilities, Beach Tox, allegedly doesn’t have the proper laboratory equipment to perform the tests. Taylor is also accused of using “inexperienced” accountants whom he himself trained to issue false COVID-19 billings.
In May, Taylor’s home and properties in Sebastian County were raided by authorities. Several luxury cars and high-level electronics were confiscated during the raid, and the DOJ claims that Taylor used the proceeds of his fraud scheme to acquire those luxuries.
The poker player was not present when the raids took place, but he later turned himself in at the federal courthouse in Fort Smith. He is currently out on a $100,000 bond.
Coordinated Crackdown Against COVID-19 Related Medical Fraud
The DOJ filed criminal charges against 14 defendants, including Taylor, as part of a coordinated law enforcement crackdown on COVID-19 related health care fraud. The massive fraud cost the US government over $143 million, Taylor’s $88 million being the largest of the schemes.
In addition to the indictments, adverse administrative actions have also been taken against dozens of medical providers across the country for their involvement in health care fraud scheme.
The DOJ publicly denounced the criminal acts, saying the individuals indicted for the multi-million schemes used the COVID-19 pandemic and programs funded by the government for their own benefit.
What’s Next for Taylor?
Taylor’s cash game pursuits at the Texas Card House in Dallas have made him quite popular among poker circles. He was involved in some of the biggest pots on TCH Live, loosely throwing money despite not holding the strongest cards. His play essentially relied on luck, and sometimes he managed to hit it.
When it comes to live tournaments, Taylor has no relevant record. He took part in the $50,000 PokerGO Super High Roller held at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood back in April, but luck wasn’t on his side. He busted in the middle of the 4th level after going all-in and running into a set.
Taylor’s medical fraud case could be the biggest of its kind in the history of Arkansas. If convicted, he could end up behind bars for 5 years, and could be forced to shell out millions in criminal penalties.
He has yet to issue any comment on the accusations against him, and there’s no schedule yet for his next hearing.