Former VA Podiatry Chief Sentenced to 6.5 Years in Prison for Health Care Fraud Scheme
Overbilled the VA for Prescription Shoes and Lied to Win National Contract
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Anthony Lazzarino, 69, former Chief of Podiatry for the Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Northern California Health Care System, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez to six years and six months in prison for health care fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, between March 2008 and Feb. 2015, Lazzarino and Peter Wong, 62, founder and former CEO of Sunrise Shoes and Pedorthic Service Corporation, 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, they and Wong’s former employee Jai Aing Chen agreed to make materially false statements to the VA regarding where shoes were manufactured, in the course of applying for a national contract worth over $11 million per year. A federal jury found Wong and Lazzarino guilty of health care fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud on May 17, 2019. Chen separately pleaded guilty on Dec. 6, 2016.
This case was 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. Attorney Lee S. Bickley prosecuted the case.
Judge Mendez sentenced Wong to five years in prison on Dec. 17, 2019. Judge Mendez sentenced Chen to one year and one day in prison on Aug. 6, 2019.