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Washington Man Writes a Prescription for Prison

In an attempt to get drugs, a Bremerton, Wash., man faked work injuries and conned hospitals to get painkillers.

Robert B. Boyer Jr. of Bremerton, Wash., pleaded guilty to 10 felony counts of fraudulently obtaining controlled substances and has been sentenced to 26 months in prison for defrauding hospitals to get painkillers.

Boyer, 41, was accused of making 51 visits to more than two dozen emergency rooms and urgent-care clinics throughout Western Washington to get prescriptions for Vicodin, Percocet and other painkillers.

King County Superior Court Judge Monica Benton accepted his guilty plea, and ordered Boyer to serve 26 months in prison, repay the hospitals and clinics and participate in a drug treatment program for drug offenders. 

“This was a particularly flagrant example of someone abusing the workers’ comp and health systems to get prescription drugs by fraud,” said Elizabeth Smith, L&I assistant director of fraud prevention and labor standards. “Drug-seekers need to know our investigators will find you and hold you responsible.”

A Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) investigation found that Boyer – who showed up with visible cuts and other injuries – sought painkillers at emergency rooms over a three-month period starting in November 2012. Boyer claimed he suffered the injuries while working as an ironworker, but held no such job.

In addition, charging papers said, he provided false names and false Social Security numbers in an effort to open workers' compensation claims.

L&I covers medical expenses for legitimate workplace injuries, but in the cases for which Boyer was charged, there were no legitimate workers’ compensation claims. Boyer left medical facilities with an estimated $147,000 in unpaid fees.

Boyer hit medical providers throughout Western Washington, from small locally owned clinics to multiple facilities in the UW Medicine, MultiCare and Franciscan health systems.

As part of a plea agreement, the attorney general’s office will dismiss 15 similar counts in Pierce County, but Boyer has agreed to also repay the hospitals in those charges. The specific amount of restitution will be determined at a hearing April 30.

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