A North Texas father and son convicted of fraud must serve a combined 15 years in federal prison for a hearing aids insurance scam targeting American Airlines employees.
Prosecutors say 69-year-old Terry Lynn Anderson was sentenced Wednesday to eight years and ordered to repay nearly $13.7 million to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.
Rocky Freeland Anderson, 38, was sentenced to seven years and must repay more than $3.1 million.
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Both Dallas men were convicted last year of health care-related fraud and aggravated identity theft.
"In flagrant disregard for the law, these defendants submitted claims for equipment they knew patients neither needed nor wanted, just to line their own pockets," said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. "This sort of fraud impacts healthcare costs for patients who actually need coverage and we will continue to prioritize these cases."
According to evidence presented at trial, the men defrauded Blue Cross by submitting claims on behalf of American Airlines employees for hearing aids that were not needed and, in many cases, never dispensed to the patient.
The fraudulent claims were submitted through Anderson Optical & Hearing Aids Center, the Andersons' family-owned business with locations in Arlington and Bedford.
To increase the number of claims they could submit to Blue Cross, the Andersons engaged in fraudulent marketing practices, promising patients a free pair of high-end sunglasses or a free pair of prescription eyeglasses in exchange for taking a free hearing test.
At the conclusion of these hearing tests, the two men told patients that they had slight to mild hearing loss and required them to sign an order for hearing aids in order to receive the free glasses.
The defendants promised patients that the hearing aids would be provided to them at no cost, and that Anderson Optical & Hearing would waive any applicable copayments, coinsurance, or deductibles.
The defendants also offered patients $100 gift cards in exchange for referring family members and coworkers for free hearing tests.
Many hearing tests lasted less than five minutes and were done in an employee break room at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.