18 ex-NBA players charged in alleged $4 million health insurance fraud

Eighteen former NBA gamers, together with former Celtics and Clippers participant Ronald Glen “Huge Child” Davis, have been arrested and charged with defrauding the NBA’s Well being and Welfare Profit Plan out of practically $4 million.

The ex-players are accused of submitting false reimbursement claims from round 2017 to 2020 for medical and dental providers that weren’t truly bought, in response to an indictment filed in federal court docket within the Southern District of New York, or SDNY.

These false claims totaled about $3.9 million, in response to the indictment. Gamers acquired about $2.5 million in complete fraudulent proceeds, with every receiving as little as $65,000 to as a lot as $420,000.

“The profit plans offered by the NBA and the Nationwide Basketball Gamers Affiliation to our gamers are critically vital to help their well being and well-being all through their taking part in careers and over the course of their lives, which makes these allegations notably disheartening,” The NBA mentioned in a press release Thursday. The league famous that it’ll cooperate with the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace on this matter.

The NBA Gamers Affiliation additionally mentioned in a press release late Thursday it was conscious of the indictment and can proceed to observe the state of affairs.

The FBI arrested 16 of the defendants Thursday morning in 12 districts throughout the nation, mentioned Michael Driscoll, the Assistant Director in Cost of the FBI’s New York Area workplace.

One defendant, former Portland Path Blazers participant Sebastian Telfair, will likely be introduced late Thursday earlier than a SDNY Justice of the Peace choose, SDNY U.S. Lawyer Audrey Strauss added. The remaining gamers will likely be introduced earlier than judges of their districts of arrest.

The FBI and New York Police Division Well being Care Fraud Activity Drive are conducting an investigation into the scheme, in response to Strauss.

Terrence Williams #55 of the Boston Celtics handles the ball throughout recreation towards the New York Knicks in Sport 4 of the Japanese Convention Quarterfinals in the course of the 2013 NBA Playoffs on April 28, 2013 on the TD Backyard in Boston.

Chris Elise | Nationwide Basketball Affiliation | Getty Photos

The NBA’s Well being and Welfare Profit Plan gives extra protection on prime of present medical protection for eligible lively and former NBA gamers and their households, Strauss mentioned. It’s primarily funded by contributions from NBA groups.

Terrence Williams, eleventh general within the 2009 NBA draft by the then-New Jersey Nets, was the alleged ringleader of the scheme to defraud the plan, in response to the indictment. 

Williams allegedly recruited different NBA gamers by providing fabricated invoices for use in false claims in trade for the fee of kickbacks to him. In line with the indictment, Williams acquired a minimum of $230,000 in kickbacks from the gamers.

When one defendant didn’t pay for the false documentation in kickbacks, Williams allegedly “tried to frighten the participant into re-engaging” by impersonating an worker who processed the health-care plan claims and saying there was a difficulty, Strauss famous.

Williams additionally allegedly assisted three of the ex-players — Davis, Charles Watson Jr. and Antoine Wright — acquire fabricated letters of medical necessity to justify some providers on which the false invoices had been primarily based.

A number of of the faux invoices and medical necessity kinds stood out as a result of they’d “uncommon formatting, they’ve grammatical errors” and had been despatched on the identical dates from totally different places of work, the indictment mentioned.

Strauss identified different noticeable errors within the fraudulent paperwork, noting that former NBA participant Gregory Smith submitted invoices for a root canal in Beverly Hills when he was in truth taking part in basketball in Taiwan on the time.

A couple of of the false claims had been additionally for similar reported procedures on the identical day, in response to Strauss. For instance, three gamers claimed to have had root canals on the identical six tooth on April 30, 2016 and crowns on the identical six tooth on Could 11, 2016.

A number of the ex-players charged had been instructed to repay the proceeds they acquired from the health-care plan as soon as it was decided that the claims had been false, in response to the indictment. Some did whereas others didn’t.

Additionally charged within the case are: Alan Anderson, a former Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Clippers participant; Shannon Brown, who performed for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers; and Tony Allen, a six-time NBA All-Defensive Crew choice.

Allen’s spouse, Desiree Allen, is the one girl and non-NBA participant charged within the indictment.

The record additionally consists of William Bynum, who spent most of his profession with the Detroit Pistons; Christopher “Supreme Bey” Douglas-Roberts, former participant for the then-New Jersey Nets; Melvin Ely, who performed for 5 NBA groups; and Jamario Moon, who performed for 5 NBA groups as effectively.

Others embody: Darius Miles, former participant for the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers; Eddie Robinson, who performed for the Charlotte Hornets and the Chicago Payments; Anthony Wroten, who performed for the Memphis Grizzlies and the Philadelphia 76ers; Milton Palacio, who performed for six NBA groups; and Ruben Patterson, who performed for six groups.

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