(NEW YORK) — Eighteen former NBA players, including Sebastian Telfair, Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Darius Miles, have been charged with defrauding the NBA’s health and welfare benefit plan out of approximately $4 million, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
The players were charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud as part of what prosecutors called a “widespread scheme to defraud” the NBA health care benefit plan.
They allegedly submitted false or fraudulent claims totaling nearly $4 million, from which the ex-players took in about $2.5 million.
The records submitted by the ex-players “described medical and dental services that were not in fact provided,” the indictment said.
The fraudulent invoices were created by a chiropractic office in Encino, California, two dentist offices in Beverly Hills and a wellness office in Washington state. The indictment named none of the offices allegedly involved and they were not charged.
Other ex-players charged include Terrence Williams, Alan Anderson, Anthony Allen, Shannon Brown, William Bynum, Christopher Douglas-Roberts, Melvin Ely, Jamario Moon, Milton Palacio, Ruben Patterson, Eddie Robinson, Gregory Smith, Charles Watson Jr., Antoine Wright and Anthony Wroten.
“Williams recruited other plan participants to defraud the plan by offering to supply them with false invoices to support their false and fraudulent claims to the plan in exchange for the payment kickbacks to Williams,” the indictment said.
The indictment also alleges that Williams impersonated an individual who processed the plan’s claims. Williams, the indictment said, received $230,000 in kickbacks from the other defendants for his role.
The defrauded NBA plan is intended to give additional coverage to eligible NBA players’ existing medical coverage, according to the indictment, by reimbursing “certain medical expenses incurred by eligible active and former NBA players, their spouses, and other dependents that are no covered by a player’s primary insurance carrier.”
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