A number of former Boston Celtics players — including two key members of the franchise’s 2008 championship squad — were charged in relation to a massive insurance fraud scheme, the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York announced on Thursday, October 7, 2021.
In total, 19 individuals, 18 of whom played in the NBA, have been accused of defrauding the National Basketball Association Players’ Health And Welfare Benefit Plan of almost $4 million. According to the press release, 16 of the 18 players are now in federal custody.
Among those being indicted are Celtics alums Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Tony Allen, Sebastian Telfair, Milt Palacio and Terrence Williams. Allen’s wife, Desiree, was also named as a defendant.
Other former players charged in connection with the scheme include Antoine Wright, Darius Miles, Ruben Patterson, Eddie Robinson, Greg Smith, Jamario Moon, Alan Anderson, Shannon Brown, Will Bynum, Melvin Ely, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Tony Wroten.
Players Cashed in on Bogus Insurance Claims, Authorities Say
Per the DOJ release, defendants defrauded the health plan by submitting claims for the reimbursement of medical and dental services that were never actually rendered. The scheme was orchestrated by Williams, according to authorities, who said he recruited the other players and provided them with false invoices to support their claims.
According to the DOJ release, Williams acquired invoices from a dentist affiliated with dental offices in Beverly Hills, as well as from a doctor at a wellness office in the state of Washington. In exchange for the documentation, authorities said he received kickbacks from his co-conspirators totaling at least $230,000.
“The defendants’ playbook involved fraud and deception,” said U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss in the press release. “Thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement partners, their alleged scheme has been disrupted and they will have to answer for their flagrant violations of law.”
Those implicated in the scheme have each been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, an offense that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, according to the press release.
Williams has also been charged with one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison, according to the press release.
The latest Celtics news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Celtics newsletter here!
Allen, who was one of the best defenders in the NBA for more than a decade, played in 336 games for the Celtics from 2004 to 2010. He was a key cog off the bench for Doc Rivers during Boston’s ’08 title run. Over 14 years with the Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans, he averaged 8.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game.
Davis, meanwhile, was just getting his first taste of pro hoops when the Celtics won the championship. After leaving the Celtics in 2011, he spent time with the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers. “Big Baby” averaged 8.0 points and 4.4 rebounds over an eight-year career.