COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Tears streamed down 36-year-old Danyele Grothen's face as she asked U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land to give her the most lenient sentence possible in federal court Wednesday.
In 2009, the mother of three pled guilty to wire fraud, admitting that she faxed false claims to Aflac from Washington state from 2004 to 2006- claims the insurance company paid out to the tune of more than $290,000.
She faced up to 30 months in prison but got sentenced to 27 at Wednesday's hearing, just shy of the maximum.
In her plea agreement, it says Grothen submitted 15 fraudulent claims to Aflac for medical treatments neither she nor her family members received.
Court documents also indicate Grothen admitted to the scheme to the FBI saying she made them due to financial troubles. But authorities later found out that some of the money was used to buy new cars, jewelry and a vacation to Hawaii.
Aflac officials say Grothen was an independent sales agent and not an employee. In a statement to WTVM today, the company's spokeswoman, Laura Kane, says:
"Aflac is committed to investigating and prosecuting anyone who tries to defraud the company."
When given the chance to address the court, Grothen apologized to Aflac and told the judge her abusive husband threatened to turn her in if she didn't keep up with the ploy.
She says she wants to pay the company back- something she'll be forced to do when she gets out of prison.
Grothen's sentence of two years and three months will be followed by three years of supervised released.
She is also ordered to pay $293,025 in restitution to Aflac.
Our calls to Grothen's attorney after Wednesday's court proceedings were not returned.
Judge Clay Land says he is putting in a request that she be assigned to a prison near her home state of Washington and that the Bureau of Prisons take into consideration her medical condition since she suffers from multiple sclerosis.