Former VA Podiatry Chief and Sacramento CEO Convicted for Health Care Fraud Scheme
Overbilled the VA for Prescription Shoes and Lied to Win National Contract
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal jury found Anthony Lazzarino, 68, former Chief of Podiatry for the Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Northern California Health Care System, and Peter Wong, 61, founder and CEO of Sunrise Shoes and Pedorthic Service Corporation, guilty of health care fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to evidence presented at trial, between March 2008 and February 2015, Lazzarino and Wong engaged in a scheme to defraud the VA by billing for custom work and services that were prescribed but not supplied in shoes delivered to veterans. In addition, Lazzarino, Wong, and Jai Aing Chen, who separately pleaded guilty on December 6, 2016, agreed to make materially false statements to the VA regarding where the shoes were manufactured, in the course of applying for a national contract worth over $11 million per year.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, Department of Veterans Affairs Police Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew M. Yelovich and Lee S. Bickley are prosecuting the case.
Lazzarino and Wong are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez on August 27. They face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each health care fraud count, and five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the wire fraud conspiracy count. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.