Sentence: Bremerton man gets 26 months for conning hospitals

SEATTLE -- A Bremerton man who racked up nearly $150,000 in medical bills while defrauding hospitals out of pain medication was sentenced Monday to 26 months in prison.

Robert B. Boyer, Jr. had already pleaded guilty to 10 felony counts of fraudulently obtaining controlled substances, according to the Washington Attorney General's Office.

Officials from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries say Boyer visited 51 hospitals and medical clinics over a three-month span beginning last November. The 41-year-old was able to get prescriptions for high-potency pain medication by showing up at emergency rooms with cuts and other injuries he claimed to have suffered while working as an ironworker.

Investigators say Boyer never worked as an ironworker and used fake names and social security numbers to open workers' compensation claims. In all, Boyer racked up $147,000 in medical bills, according to L&I officials.

Boyer targeted small and large hospitals throughout Western Washington, but the Attorney General's Office agreed to drop 15 similar counts in Pierce County as part of Boyer's plea agreement.

"This was a particularly flagrant example of someone abusing the workers' comp and health systems to get prescription drugs by fraud," L&I's Elizabeth Smith said in a news release. "Drug-seekers need to know our investigators will find you and hold you responsible."

As part of his plea agreement, Boyer agreed to repay the hospitals he defrauded. The specific amount of restitution will be determined at a hearing next month.