WA Man Charged in Fake Injury Scheme to Acquire Painkillers

The defendant "showed up with visible cuts and other injuries that he claimed to have suffered in construction accidents from November 2012 through February 2013" and talked medical staffers into treating him and prescribing the drugs, according to the Washington state Department of Labor & Industries.

Robert B. Boyer Jr., 41, of Bremerton, Wash., has been charged with faking occupational injuries to fool hospital and clinic personnel into prescribing narcotic painkillers to him, the Washington state Department of Labor & Industries reported Dec. 23. Its news release said Boyer faces 25 felony charges that allege he visited more than 30 emergency rooms and urgent-care clinics in the state to get prescriptions for Vicodin, Percocet, and other painkillers. The charges were filed by the Washington Attorney General's Office.

Boyer claimed to be an ironworker when he "showed up with visible cuts and other injuries that he claimed to have suffered in construction accidents from November 2012 through February 2013," and talked medical staffers into treating him and prescribing the drugs. The charges allege that he also gave false names, false birthdates, and false Social Security numbers to open workers' compensation claims with the department, which covers medical expenses for workers who are injured on the job. "In these cases, however, Boyer left hospitals and clinics with more than $134,000 in unpaid medical fees, charging papers said," according to L&I.

The charges resulted from an L&I investigation that found Boyer filed 51 workers' compensation claims. Boyer typically did not present any identification, taking advantage of medical providers' duty to treat patients in an emergency, according to investigators said. "During the investigation, health care providers asked L&I investigators how to deter this type of scheme. L&I encouraged them to verify the employment of patients claiming workplace injuries. If employment can't be verified, providers can consider treatment options other than prescribing narcotics," according to the release. "In addition, investigators said the facilities that photograph patients for patient records or that retain video footage of their emergency room for several months proved especially helpful in identifying the suspect."

"The best evidence we can use against persons committing fraudulent acts against hospitals and clinics is identification, whether it be a photo, a driver's license, or something else to connect him or her to the crime," L&I investigator Nathan Kresse said. "That is the best way to track down and identify offenders."

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