A onetime Northwest and Delta Air Lines supervisor whose false-billing scheme cost the companies $36 million got a dose of mercy for leading authorities to a yacht off the West Coast where his partner in crime was living.
Paul A. Anderson, 58, of Apple Valley, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Atlanta to more than six years in prison, far less than his cohort’s term of 10 years.
Anderson could have received eight to 10 years in prison, based on federal court guidelines. However, prosecutors noted that Anderson secretly recorded more than 60 phone calls with co-defendant Michael Yedor, collecting evidence and ultimately zeroing in on Yedor’s travel plans.
That information allowed the FBI to nab Yedor aboard his yacht near San Diego on June 21, 2014, as he returned to U.S. territory from Mexico, the records continued.
“Anderson’s cooperation … was a major factor in defendant Yedor’s decision to plead guilty,” the court filing read. Anderson’s “substantial assistance” prompted prosecutors to request that his prison time be closer to five years.
Anderson’s sentence also calls for three years of supervised release, forfeiture of individual retirement accounts and restitution. Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn released a statement with no mention of Anderson’s assistance.
“For more than a decade, Anderson used his position of trust within these airline companies to steal millions of dollars from the airlines for himself and a co-defendant,” the statement said.
Yedor, 62, of Los Angeles, was arrested on his 72-foot yacht. He was sentenced in January to 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release. He also must pay more than $36 million and forfeit his interest in real estate properties and luxury goods, including a Beverly Hills mansion and the yacht.
Attached to the indictment was a list of purchases at posh Beverly Hills retailers: one for $37,000 at Cartier, another for $43,000 at Chanel. Other stores included Luis Vuitton, Gucci, Saks and Hermès.
According to prosecutors:
Anderson, who signed on with Eagan-based Northwest in 1979, oversaw installation, maintenance and upgrading of radio communications for the airlines’ control and crisis centers starting in 1986. He continued with Delta after the two airlines merged in 2009.
Anderson began his scheme with Yedor in 2004 by submitting many false invoices on behalf of Airborne Voice and Data, purportedly owned by Yedor. The invoices sought payment from the airlines for goods and services from Airborne that were never provided. Payments were for as little as $11,000 but topped $200,000 at least seven times.
In exchange for approving each invoice, Anderson received a kickback in the scheme, which didn’t come to an end until last year.