(CNN)Former Professional Bowl managing back again Clinton Portis and other retired NFL gamers have been billed by a federal grand jury with defrauding the NFL’s retiree health care rewards programfor additional than $3 million, in accordance to two indictments unsealed Thursday.
“Ten previous NFL players allegedly dedicated a brazen, multi-million greenback fraud on a wellbeing care system intended to aid their former teammates and other retired players spend genuine, out-of-pocket healthcare expenses,” Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski claimed in a assertion.
The previous NFL gamers allegedly submitted phony well being treatment statements searching for to be reimbursed for high-priced medical tools that was under no circumstances ordered, normally about $40,000 to $fifty,000 per claim, court information show.
The machines provided hyperbaric oxygen chambers, ultrasound machines designed for a doctor’s workplace to conduct women’s health and fitness examinations, and electromagnetic therapy products for horses, prosecutors stated.
The plan, which lasted from June 2017 to December 2018, led to over $3.9 million in untrue and fraudulent claims, of which the plan compensated out extra than $3.four million, prosecutors explained in a information release.
Read Extra: one in six retired NFL gamers go bankrupt
In addition, some defendants obtained reimbursements from the program or recruited other retired players to participate in the plan in exchange for kickbacks and bribes, the indictments say. The promises relied on fabricated invoices, prescriptions and letters of healthcare requirement, prosecutors mentioned.
Two previous players, Robert McCune and Correll Buckhalter, even referred to as the health and fitness advantages plan’s cellular phone line and impersonated other players to check on the status of the claims, the release states.
CNN has arrived at out to the NFL, the named players and the NFL Players Association for remark. The NFL and the players union had been informed of the prices in advance of a Thursday morning news meeting, Benczkowski claimed.
An legal professional for Portis who has also represented other Redskins on lawful issues stated his consumer is innocent, in accordance to The Washington Article.
“Clinton Portis had no understanding that his participation in what he believed to be an NFL sanctioned health-related reimbursement method was unlawful,” Mark Dycio reported. “He is entirely taken aback by this indictment and will move forward with the process of clearing his good identify and these of his fellow NFL alumni.”
Cigna alerted feds to opportunity fraud, prosecutor says
Wellbeing insurance plan corporation Cigna flagged anomalies in the kinds of statements remaining filed and referred the fraud to federal investigators, Benczkowski said.
4 previous players were arrested and 6 agreed to switch themselves in, he explained.
The defendants incorporate:
- Portis, the former Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos managing back
- McCune, a former linebacker with the Redskins
- John Eubanks, a previous cornerback with the Redskins
- Tamarick Vanover, a former Kansas Metropolis Chiefs huge receiver
- Ceandris “C.C.” Brown, a previous Houston Texans security
- James Butler, a previous New York Giants and St. Louis Rams protection
- Fredrick Bennett, a former Houston Texans defensive back again
- Etric Pruitt, a previous defensive back for the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks
- Carlos Rogers, a former Redskins and San Francisco 49ers cornerback
- Buckhalter, a previous Philadelphia Eagles working back.
In addition, the governing administration designs to file felony informations charging Joe Horn, the previous New Orleans Saints large receiver, and Donald “Reche” Caldwell, the former San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots extensive receiver, with conspiracy, in accordance to the information release.
McCune is billed with conspiracy, 9 counts of wire fraud and 9 counts of wellbeing treatment fraud. Eubanks, Vanover and Rogers are charged with conspiracy, two counts each individual of wire fraud and two counts each and every of health treatment fraud. Portis, Brown, Butler and Bennett are charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and overall health treatment fraud. And Buckhalter and Pruitt are billed with just one count each and every of conspiracy.
Portis, who reportedly acquired much more than $43.one million above his nine-calendar year vocation, was identified for sporting vibrant costumes, wigs and outsized sunglasses in media interviews. But soon after retiring, he submitted for individual bankruptcy and became a person of a startling quantity of previous NFL players who go broke immediately after their enjoying careers.
A lot more than twenty FBI field offices across the place participated in the fraud investigation, from Miami to New Jersey to Los Angeles, prosecutors explained.
The wellness care rewards strategy was recognized as component of the 2006 collective bargaining arrangement in between the NFL and the NFL Players’ Affiliation.
It is meant to present tax-totally free reimbursement of out-of-pocket health-related costs not protected by insurance coverage for former NFL gamers, their wives and their dependents, prosecutors explained. Every participant can receive a most of $350,000 from the strategy.