A family operation faced accusations of healthcare fraud in Dallas. The operation, Anderson Optical & Hearing Aids Center, allegedly defrauded Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas of over $16.7 million. A father and son run the facility. The father was convicted on 15 counts for healthcare fraud and identity theft. The son, 13 counts for the same crimes.
What did the prosecution argue? The prosecution claimed the father and son duo would test patients for hearing loss and tell the patients that had slight to mild hearing loss. The patient would then sign an order form for a hearing aid. In exchange for the signature, the prosecution argued, the patient would get a free pair of sunglasses.
An expert witness for the prosecution stated that the tests were not sufficient enough to aid in a “legitimate decision” about the need for a hearing aid.
How serious are these charges? Sentencing will occur at a later date. However, the father and son face up to 10 years of imprisonment for each charge of healthcare fraud and an additional 2 years of jail time for each charge of identity theft.
In addition to jail time, the family was also required to forfeit their 300 acre ranch, there vehicles and over $3 million.
The penalties that come with healthcare fraud allegations are harsh. Anyone that thinks they are part of an investigation based on similar allegations is wise to take the matter seriously. A vigorous defense can help to avoid disciplinary action from any licensing agency as well as reduce the risk of criminal charges.