The scheme involved over $3.9 million in false health care claims.
The Department of Justice announced charges Thursday against 10 former NFL players over an alleged scheme to defraud millions of dollars from the league’s health care benefits program.
Prosecutors allege that the players submitted false and fraudulent claims for high-cost medical equipment to the league’s Gene Upshaw Health Reimbursement Account Plan for retired players between June of 2017 and December of 2018.
In a press release, the Justice Department said the charges range from health care fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy — involving over $3.9 million in false health care claims.
Among those charged include former Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis, 38, former San Francisco 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers, 38, and former Houston Texans safety Ceandris Brown, 36. The government has also filed a notice that it intends to charge former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn, 47, with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
According to the Justice Department, the former players would offer to submit claims for medical equipment including hyperbaric oxygen chambers, cryotherapy machines and ultrasound machines in exchange for “kickbacks and bribes that range from a few thousand dollars to $10,000 or more per claim submitted.” The players are alleged to have fabricated documents like prescriptions and invoices in order to secure payouts for their claims.
“The defendants are alleged to have developed and executed a fraudulent scheme to undermine a health care benefit plan established by the NFL — one established to help their former teammates and colleagues pay for legitimate medical expenses,” said U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan, Jr., for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “The defendants allegedly submitted false claims to the plan and obtained money for expensive medical equipment that was never purchased or received, depriving that plan of valuable resources to help others meet their medical needs.”
He added, “We have prioritized the investigation and prosecution of health care fraud in our office, and we appreciate the partnership we share with the Criminal Division and the FBI in pursuing these important matters.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.