MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minneapolis mobile eye surgery company and its former CEO have agreed to pay $12 million to resolve allegations that it lured physicians with illegal kickbacks in exchange for their business for nearly a decade.

The settlement announced by the U.S. attorney's office comes after a whistleblower sued Sightpath Medical Inc. and a Bloomington surgical equipment provider.

Authorities say Sightpath provided the kickbacks from 2006 to 2015, in a way that greatly expanded its payments from government health care programs such as Medicare.

Sightpath in a statement to the Minneapolis Star Tribune said it agreed to the settlement to avoid expensive litigation. The company said it did not admit to any wrongdoing.

The attorney for former Sightpath CEO James Tiffany said his portion of the settlement was paid by Sightpath.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com