Thursday morning, 10 former NFL players, including Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis, were charged by the Justice Department for defrauding the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan of nearly $4 million.
The Justice Department has also said that it will be filing charges against two other former players, as well.
After an investigation by the FBI, charges were filed against the following former NFL players: Robert McCune, John Eubanks, Tamarick Vanover, Frederick Bennett, Correll Buckhalter, Etric Pruitt, Carlos Rodgers, and Portis.
The two other former players the Justice Department plans on charging are said to be former wide receivers Joe Horn and Reche Caldwell.
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NFL Players Charged With Defrauding Health Care Fund for $3.4 Million
Portis has not yet been arrested, but he is expected to surrender himself at some point on Thursday, per The Washington Post. Four NFL players have been arrested so far for allegedly submitting false claims to the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which allowed them to be reimbursed for medical equipment such as hyperbaric chambers and ultrasound machines, which cost approximately $40,000-$50,000.
The former players fabricated numerous documents and recruited others into their scheme, the Justice Department’s report stated. The players have been charged in the Eastern District of Kentucky.
Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski said of the charges: “Ten former NFL players allegedly committed a brazen, multi-million-dollar fraud on a health care plan meant to help their former teammates and other retired players pay legitimate, out-of-pocket medical expenses. Today’s indictments underscore that whoever you are, if you loot health care programs to line your own pockets, you will be held accountable by the Department of Justice.”
The former players allegedly used the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which was established after the 2006 collective bargaining agreement. Referred to as “The Plan,” the account reimburses former players up to $350,000 a year for out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by insurance. The accused players allegedly submitted over $3.9 million in fraudulent claims and were paid $3.4 out of those claims.
Former Players Used Legitimate Fund for Illegal Activity
According to Robert M. Duncan Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, the accused former players used a plan that was meant to do good and allegedly grossly abused it.
“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. said. “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.”
Portis played for nine seasons in the NFL and was a Pro Bowler with the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos. He has been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health fraud, as well as one count of wire fraud and one count of health fraud.
The Justice Department also alleges that some of the former players charged got others to join the scheme by offering to submit false claims in return for kickbacks and bribes.
We will keep you updated on this story as it changes, or as new information becomes available.