Federal trial for Lavaca man facing health care fraud charges moved to next year

Billy Joe Taylor
Billy Joe Taylor

FORT SMITH -- A U.S. district judge has postponed the jury trial for a River Valley man charged with more than a dozen federal crimes.

Judge P.K. Holmes signed an order June 27 resetting the trial date for Billy Joe Taylor to Feb. 13 in Fort Smith, according to court records. The trial was previously set to start Sept. 12 after Holmes rescheduled it in December from the original start date of Jan. 10.

Taylor, 43, of Lavaca pleaded not guilty Nov. 23 to 16 charges of health care fraud and one charge of money laundering. U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark E. Ford said Taylor faces up to 10 years in prison for each count if found guilty, as well as fines.

Taylor was indicted Nov. 2, according to court records. Taylor was released May 26, 2021, on a $100,000 secured bond with conditions of release. Ford ordered Taylor's bond be revoked and Taylor be remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service at a hearing Dec. 20 after finding he violated the conditions of his release. Ford also denied a request from Taylor's attorneys to stay his decision pending an appeal.

Ken Osborne, an attorney representing Taylor, requested June 24 the trial be continued for another six months. Osborne's motion says he needs more time to review evidence in the case, which was described as "voluminous," and properly prepare for the trial. Osborne said the federal government had no objection to the motion.

Holmes' June 27 order granted the motion in part. The prosecution estimates the trial will take two to three weeks, but the court did not have any two-week periods open that were exactly six months out from the Sept. 12 trial date. The closest such period was Feb. 13.

Charlie Robbins, public information officer for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, said Taylor is being held at the Washington County Detention Center in Fayetteville ahead of his trial.

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