FARGO, N.D. -

A Seattle doctor accused of turning in phony Medicare claims that included reports of nursing home visits to patients who were dead is scheduled to appear in Fargo for a plea hearing and sentencing.

John C. Chen is charged in North Dakota federal court with six counts, including health care fraud and false statements related to health care. The charges carry a combined maximum penalty of 45 years in prison.

The case is being tried in North Dakota because Fargo-based Noridian Healthcare Solutions LLC processes and pays Medicare Part B claims in Washington state.

Authorities say many of Chen's claims for face-to-face appointments occurred when he was out of the country.

The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday.