A man accused of communications fraud failed to appear for his initial appearance in a Utah courtroom Tuesday, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. The newspaper says that the man was being held in jail in New Mexico for unknown reasons. The man may have had serious medical issues—the felony charges in Utah allege that he showed up at a hospital in St. George on two separate occasions. Authorities claim that he posed as two different rock stars in Utah, racking up medical bills.
Hospital staff claims the man showed up for undisclosed medical reasons in December 2011 and ran up a $23,000 tab. The hospital claims that the man said he was Alex Lifeson, a guitarist with the band Rush. He told personnel at the medical center that his agent would take care of the medical insurance issues on his behalf. Authorities claim that the man left the hospital without proper authorization from doctors.
Police claim that the same man returned to the same Utah hospital in February 2013 claiming to be David Gilmour from the band Pink Floyd. In the 2013 visit, authorities accuse the man of using the same scheme to rack up $49,000 in medical bills. Again, authorities claim the man left the building without resolving the tab, and against doctor’s orders.
The hospital contacted police, and a probe into the allegations was opened last April. The next month, news broke in Minnesota of a man who visited a hospital claiming to be Pink Floyd’s Gilmour. People in Utah believe that photos of the man from the Minnesota case are the same man who allegedly posed as rock stars in Utah.
The man is accused in Utah of two counts of second-degree communications fraud. In most cases of communications fraud in Utah, the value of the money, goods or other things of value sought in the alleged fraudulent scheme is used to calculate the severity of the offense. For instance, in cases involving less than $500, a communications fraud charge is considered a class B misdemeanor. As the value goes up, so does the level of the offense.
Financial offenses can bring serious consequences in Utah. The breadth of fraud laws may confuse people in many of these types of cases–mounting a criminal defense is an important thing to consider when facing any fraud charges.
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, “Man claiming to be rock star stiffs St. George hospital,” Erin Alberty, Jan. 23, 2014