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Man charged with theft for $10,000 in Fairbanks hospital visits

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Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 6:28 pm | Updated: 1:03 pm, Thu Nov 7, 2013.

FAIRBANKS—An Anchorage man was charged with felony theft this week for allegedly racking up a nearly $10,000 bill at the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital emergency room under an assumed name.

John Paul Boyce, 45, went to the emergency room four times in one week to get treatment for pain, according to a criminal complaint filed against him.

Boyce was treated under the name James P. Peterson and received pain medications including Dilaudid, fentanyl and a prescription for Ultram, according to the complaint.

On Sunday evening, his fourth visit this week, Boyce used his real name and was treated by the same doctor who saw him the previous Sunday. She recognized him and called hospital security, who called Fairbanks police.

When confronted about the false name and his medical bill, Boyce said he was addicted to pain killers and made up the name James P. Peterson. He said he was sorry and that he wasn't trying to get anybody in trouble by using the name, police said.

Boyce was charged with three counts of second-degree felony theft. He is being held at Fairbanks Correctional Center on $5,000 bail and has been assigned a court-appointed attorney.

Asked if it's usual hospital policy to bring in police to investigate unpaid bills, hospital spokeswoman Clover Tiffany said she couldn't talk about specific cases but pointed to the false identity aspect of this one.

The hospital has a "medical identity theft policy," she said.

"We will take reasonable steps to prevent medical identity theft whenever possible," she said by e-mail. "Further, we will respond to alleged improper use of patient information, including reporting incidents to the proper authorities."

Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.

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