Two convicted for longtime, multimillion dollar fraud involving shoes for veterans

Two people were convicted Friday in a scheme to defraud the Veterans Affairs’ Northern California Health Care System, officials say.

A federal jury found Anthony Lazzarino, the former chief of podiatry for the VA’s Northern California Health Care System, and Peter Wong, 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 in a press release.

Between March 2008 and February 2015, Lazzarino and Wong overbilled the VA for prescription shoes that were never delivered to veterans, according to the press release.

Lazzarino, 68, and Wong, 61, and a third conspirator, Jai Aing Chen, lied to the VA regarding the shoes in order to win a national contract worth over $11 million per year, the press release said.

Chen plead guilty separately in 2016. Lazzarino and Wong are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez on Aug. 27, the announcement said.

The pair will face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison plus 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 conviction, the press release said.