Former NBA Players Charged With Defrauding Health-Care Plan
(Bloomberg) -- Eighteen former National Basketball Association players were accused of scheming to defraud the league’s health-care plan of $3.9 million by making fake claims for medical and dental expenses.
The former players charged include Sebastian Telfair, Darius Miles and Glen Davis. Prosecutors said Terrence Williams, the 11th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft, orchestrated the plan and provided fake invoices justifying medical services that weren’t performed. Williams received kickbacks totaling at least $230,000, according to an indictment made public in Manhattan federal court Thursday.
“Terrence Williams was the scheme’s linchpin,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a Thursday press conference. She described how he tried to intimidate one former player who didn’t pay him a kickback by posing as an employee of the plan’s administrator in an email raising questions about the person’s claims.
The defendants are all charged with conspiracy to commit health-care fraud and wire fraud. In addition, Williams is charged with aggravated identity theft for impersonating someone who processed benefit plan claims. Desiree Allen, the wife of former Boston Celtic Anthony Allen, was the only non-player charged in the indictment. Allen was also charged.
Sixteen of the defendants are in custody, including Telfair, who was scheduled to appear in Manhattan federal court later in the day, according to Strauss.
Davis, a forward nicknamed “Big Baby” who won a title with the Celtics in 2008, is among the more notable names in the indictment. Miles was the third overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft.
The alleged scheme is similar to one in which former National Football League players, including former Washington running back Clinton Portis, were charged in 2019 with cheating an NFL health-care program by faking the purchase of expensive medical equipment like hyperbaric oxygen chambers and ultrasound machines.
The case is U.S. v. Williams, 21-cr-00603, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan)
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