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Man claiming to be rock star stiffs St. George hospital

Published January 22, 2014 10:10 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A Minnesota man accused of posing as multiple rock stars to avoid his medical bills at a St. George hospital failed to make his court date this week.

Phillip Michael Schaeffer, 54, allegedly identified himself as Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson when receiving services at Dixie Regional Medical Center in December 2011. Schaeffer ran up more than $23,000 in medical bills, but told an account manager that his "agent," Phil Michaels, would deal with the insurance, police wrote. Schaeffer, who is from Monticello, Minn., then left the hospital against doctors' orders.

In other visits to the hospital in November 2012 and February 2013, Schaeffer received $49,000 in medical services, claiming he was Pink Floyd guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour, police wrote. Again he told a hospital billing counselor that agent Phil Michaels would provide insurance information, and again he left the hospital against doctors' orders, police wrote.

It is not clear from charges what Schaeffer's ailments were or whether the hospital employees believed his claimed identities or knew of Gilmour and Lifeson.

Police began investigating in April, when the hospital reported the alleged ruse. In May, police received a newspaper article detailing Schaeffer's arrest for impersonating David Gilmour at a Minnesota hospital. Hospital staff recognized his photograph as the man who claimed to be Gilmour and Lifeson.

Schaeffer was charged in July with two second-degree felony counts of communications fraud. His initial appearance in court was scheduled for Tuesday, but he did not make the date because he is in jail in New Mexico, court documents state. It is not clear where he is jailed or for what reason.

According to news reports in Minnesota, Schaeffer failed to pay $100,000 in medical bills at a St. Cloud hospital in April. Staff there looked up a photograph of David Gilmour online to confirm Schaeffer was giving a false name, but not before Schaeffer had signed an autograph for an employee.