The man credited with unleashing the mantra “Trust the Process” on the world has been charged with fraud. Tony Wroten was named as one of 18 former NBA players accused of stealing nearly $4 million in fraudulent medical and dental claims, the Department of Justice announced on Thursday, October 7, 2021.
Wroten may be a footnote in NBA history, but he was a fan favorite during his three seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers. The combo guard started 34 games and averaged 13.8 points while dishing out 3.6 dimes per game. More importantly, Wroten was the player who revealed then-general manager Sam Hinkie’s commitment to tanking. The revelation came out in a 2015 interview, via ESPN. “They tell us every game, every day, ‘Trust the Process,'” Wroten told ESPN. “Just continue to build.”
Now the federal government is charging Wroten with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, according to the DOJ press release.
Authorities say former NBA player Terrence Williams was the ringleader, providing the other defendants with “false invoices to support their fraudulent claims” for reimbursement for chiropractic and dental care in California and additional “wellness” care in Washington. In exchange, according to the DOJ, defendants paid Williams kickbacks of at least $230,000 from those reimbursed insurance claims.
Other players charged include Tony Allen, Shannon Brown, Glen Davis, Darius Miles, Sebastian Telfair, Milt Palacio, Antoine Wright, Ruben Patterson, Eddie Robinson, Greg Smith, Jamario Moon, Alan Anderson, Will Bynum, Melvin Ely and Chris Douglas-Roberts. Allen’s wife Desiree Allen is also charged with fraud.
Wroten was arrested on October 7 and his case will be heard in the Western District of Washington, according to the press release.
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Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid Return to Practice
Joel Embiid — the man who trademarked “The Process” in 2019 — and Tobias Harris both returned to Sixers practice on Wednesday, October 6. The team didn’t list either player on the injury report for the second preseason game on Thursday, October 7, at 7 p.m.
Embiid didn’t play in the first exhibition game as Rivers wanted to give the big man a rest day. And Harris sat out with right knee soreness after banging it in practice. The Sixers trotted out a starting five of Tyrese Maxey, Seth Curry, Danny Green, Georges Niang and Andre Drummond.
Grant Riller Tears Meniscus, Elects Surgery
Grant Riller signed a two-way contract with the Sixers on August 30. The three-point specialist — 46.2% from three-point range, second in the NBA G League last season — had been garnering preseason hype, including praise from Rivers.
But Riller suffered a torn meniscus in the preseason opener. He has chosen to undergo surgery and will be re-evaluated in two weeks, The Athletic’s Derek Bodner reported. The 24-year-old is out for the rest of the preseason and probably won’t return until November at the earliest.
“It’s just part of life and basketball,” Rivers said of Riller in a post-practice press conference on October 6. “He’s upbeat about it, but he’s still a young guy trying to make the team. He played well yesterday, or whenever we played, and now he’s out, so it’s just one of the tough blows you have, but we like him a lot, I could tell you that.”