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Michigan man charged with fraud to avoid paying hospital bill

FARGO--A Michigan man faces felony charges after being accused of using a series of false names at Sanford Health facilities here to avoid paying a $50,000 bill. Court records filed Thursday in Cass County District Court say police got involved a...

FARGO-A Michigan man faces felony charges after being accused of using a series of false names at Sanford Health facilities here to avoid paying a $50,000 bill. Court records filed Thursday in Cass County District Court say police got involved after emergency room nurses became alarmed when Scott Robert Bannan, who came in Tuesday under a false name, unintentionally coughed up blood on one of them. When officers responded to the scene, Bannan's nurse told them he recognized Bannan from a previous hospital stay, but that Bannan gave a different name then. When they investigated, hospital officials found four different records for Bannan at different Sanford facilities, all under different names and dates of birth When officers questioned Bannan, he gave his name as Scott Robert Dannon, and spelled it out for them, documents say. Bannan also gave officers the previous names he used and spelled them out, court records say: Mark Robert Sales, Scott Trevor Sales and Scott R. Sales. Bannan told the doctor he was seeking treatment for pain management. When an officer asked him why he was giving false information, Bannan replied, "You know why." The officer then asked if Bannan could afford his treatment, and he said he couldn't. The ER doctor told police that Bannan had given five other fake names, and estimated he owed Sanford about $50,000, in part due to a weeklong hospital stay. As officers were taking Bannan to jail, they finally identified him as Scott Robert Bannan, a name he gave Sanford on a visit to the ER on Nov. 30. Bannan was charged with one count of theft of services and another count of attempt to deceptively acquire controlled substances, both felonies, and a misdemeanor count of giving false information to law enforcement. Cass County prosecutor Reid Brady doesn't know if Bannan was motivated by a desire to avoid paying his bill or if he was using aliases to seek drugs. "I don't know that we would necessarily view them as mutually exclusive," Brady said. Susan Jarvis, Sanford vice president of emergency services, said it's rare for people to seek treatment under false names, but it does happen. She said Sanford cares for and stabilizes any patient coming in with emergency symptoms, regardless of their ability to pay or other factors, and that all ERs are required to do so by law. A phone number listed for Bannan in Michigan was disconnected. His next court appearance is set for Jan. 7.

Related Topics: HEALTHCRIME
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