California VA Doctor, Shoe Store Owner Accused of Bilking VA

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A Department of Veterans Affairs doctor and the owner of a Sacramento, California shoe store face federal fraud charges for allegedly trying to illegally bill the VA for $1.7 million worth of orthopedic and therapeutic shoes for veterans.

The Sacramento Bee reports that the men are accused of billing the VA for specialty shoes costing as much as as $1,682 apiece, while giving the veterans “off the shelf” products.

Anthony Lazzarino, the 66-year-old former chief of podiatry for VA health care in Northern California, and 58-year-old Peter Wong, 58, the founder of Sunrise Shoes in Sacramento, were charged Friday.

A grand jury indictment says the six-year scheme started in 2009.

Attorneys for both men said the charges were unfounded and they believe Lazzarino and Wong will be vindicated at trial.