Federal prosecutors said Thursday that eighteen former NBA players had been charged for cheating the league’s health and benefits plan of almost $4 million. The former athletes were accused of healthcare fraud and wire fraud conspiracy.
According to the indictment, the conspiracy ran from around 2017 to 2020, during which time the former athletes allegedly filed false and fraudulent claims for compensation for medical and dental treatments that were never delivered.
According to federal authorities, Terrence Williams, a former New Jersey Nets player, reportedly organized the scam and recruited other former players by providing them with bogus invoices to back the fraudulent claims. According to the indictment, Williams allegedly received more than $230,000 in “kickbacks” for the fraudulent invoices.
He also was charged with aggravated identity theft for purportedly impersonating a healthcare employee and threatening gamers who refused to give him a “kickback.”
According to federal officials, Williams, who was selected 11th overall by the Nets in 2009, was detained in Washington state. The police are presently holding a total of 15 of the identified accused.
“The defendants’ playbook includes deceit and fraud,” Audrey Strauss, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said during a news conference on Thursday. “Their purported plot has been stopped thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement colleagues, and they will have to answer for their egregious breaches of the law.”
Due to inconsistencies in documentation, investigators were able to uncover the scam. Gregory Smith, according to prosecutors, filed claims for a root canal and crowns in Beverly Hills on December 20, 2018, the same day he was performing for Taiwan’s Super Basketball League.
“E-mail, travel records, and publicly available box scores indicated that he was playing professional basketball in Taiwan that week and did not have root canals in Beverly Hills as reported on the claim form,” Strauss said.
Glen “Big Baby” Davis, who won a championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008, was among the 19 persons indicted in the alleged conspiracy. Anthony Allen, who won a ring with the Celtics alongside Davis, was also accused. Allen’s No. 9 jersey was set to be retired by the Memphis Grizzlies later this year.
The only non-player implicated in the indictment is his wife, Desiree Allen.
Strauss says that on April 30, 2016, and May 11, 2016, Anthony Wroten, Allen, and Davis filed claims for root canals and crowns on the same six teeth. Wroten and Allen submitted paperwork for root canals for the same 13 teeth on September 6, 2018.
Sebastian Telfair and Darius Miles, both NBA draft picks out of high school, were among the other players accused. Antoine Wright, Jamario Moon, William Bynum, and Shannon Brown were among the other notable players.
Each defendant faces at least 20 years in jail if convicted. Williams may face an extra 15 years in prison if convicted of identity theft.
The FBI’s New York Field Office associate director Michael Driscoll remarked, “This (healthcare) sector loses tens of millions of dollars every year to fraud.” “These expenses are passed on to businesses and customers. We take such kind of deception extremely seriously.”
Authorities said three former NFL players, including famous running back Clinton Portis, pleaded guilty last month to their involvement in a healthcare fraud conspiracy.
According to federal authorities, Robert McCune, Tamarick Vanover, and Portis were part of a broader, long-running scheme to make false health insurance claims. According to them, the retired players filed $3.9 million in fraudulent claims. Vanover and Portis now face a maximum sentence of ten years in jail, while McCune faces twenty years.