FORT SMITH, Ark. – A western Arkansas man was sentenced Thursday in federal court to 15 years in prison for conspiracy to commit health care fraud and money laundering in a pandemic scam.

Billy Joe Taylor of Lavaca received the prison sentence and was ordered to pay $29,835,825 in restitution in a Fort Smith courtroom after pleading guilty to charges in October 2022.

Taylor was also assigned three years of supervised release after he completes his prison term.

Court documents showed Taylor and the coconspirators submitted over $134 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare. The charges were for medical tests which were never given or were medically unnecessary, including respiratory illness tests during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Claims were submitted using confidential personal Medicare beneficiary information Taylor and others had obtained, court documents said.

Investigators found the group had received over $38 million from Medicare for the fraudulent claims.