A father and his son were sentenced on Wednesday to a combined 15 years in federal prison for submitting more than $27 million in fraudulent hearing aid claims through their businesses in Bedford and Arlington.
Terry Lynn Anderson, 69, of Dallas, was sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to pay $13.7 million in restitution to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.
He also was ordered to forfeit his 300-acre ranch in Valley Mills, three vehicles and more than $3.1 million seized from nine financial accounts.
His son, Rocky Freeland Anderson, 38, of Dallas, was sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay more than $8.4 million to the insurance company.
“In flagrant disregard for the law, these defendants submitted claims for equipment they knew patients neither needed nor wanted,” said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District Erin Nealy Cox in a Thursday news release. “This sort of fraud impacts healthcare costs for patients who actually need coverage and we will continue to prioritize these cases.”
The father and son were found guilty in March 2018 on multiple counts of health care fraud and aggravated identity theft.
The defendants defrauded the insurance company by submitting claims on behalf of American Airlines employees for hearing aids that were not needed, and in many cases, never dispensed to the patients, according to testimony in the trial.
The claims were submitted through Anderson Optical & Hearing, the Andersons’ family-owned business with locations in Bedford and Arlington.
Federal agents noted that fraudulent marketing practices helped the Andersons increase the number of claims submitted. Some patients were promised a free pair of expensive sunglasses or prescription glasses if they would take a free hearing test. After testing, patients were told they had slight to mild hearing loss and required them to sign an order for hearing aids before receiving the free glasses.
The Andersons also promised patients the hearing aids at no cost and said Anderson Optical & Hearing would waive any co-payments, coinsurance or deductibles. The father and son also offered $100 gift cards to patients for referrals to family members and co-workers.
In 2012, the Andersons brought their scheme into American Airlines airport facilities, offering free hearing tests to aircraft mechanics and fleet service clerks at maintenance hangars and in employee break rooms. With the offer of free sunglasses, the Andersons had long lines of employees waiting to take what witnesses said were three- to five-minutes tests, according to court documents.
An expert witness testified that such cursory screening tests were incapable of producing results that would help with legitimate decisions on dispensing hearing aids.
This report contains information from Star-Telegram archives.