Terry Lynn Anderson, 69, was sentenced to eight years and ordered to pay $13.7 million in restitution to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. He was also ordered to forfeit his 300-acre ranch in Valley Hills, three vehicles and more than $3.1 million seized from nine bank accounts.
His son, Rocky Freeland Anderson, 38, received a seven-year sentence and was ordered to pay in excess of $8.4 million to Blue Cross.
“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,” Nealy Cox, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said in a statement. “This sort of fraud impacts health care costs for patients who actually need coverage and we will continue to prioritize these cases.”
Both men were convicted last month of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud and aggravated identity theft. Prosecutors said the duo defrauded Blue Shield by submitting claims for hearing aids on behalf of American Airlines employees that were never needed and never dispensed.
The claims were submitted through their family-owned business, Anderson Optical and Hearing Aids Center in two Dallas-area suburbs. Beginning in 2012, the pair promised patients free high-end sunglasses or prescription eyeglasses in exchange for a free hearing test.
They also offered patients $100 gift cards in exchange for family member and co-worker referrals.
After the tests, patients were told they had experienced hearing loss and were required to sign a hearing aid order to receive the free glasses, the Justice Department said. The elder Anderson attempted to shift blame onto the patients during his court testimony.
“Well, unfortunately among us are people that will take advantage of perhaps any program, if they have an opportunity to," he said.
Blue Cross paid the Andersons more than $16 million of the $27 million in claims it received.