Ex-NFL Players Charged With Cheating Retirement Health Care Program

Clinton Portis and Joe Horn among 10 former NFL players charged with defrauding NFL Health Care Program.

dojThe Justice Department has charged 10 former NFL players with defrauding a health care program for retired players of almost $4 million, according to court documents.

Portis and Horn are both former All-Pros. The other ex-players charged are Robert McCune, John Eubanks, Tamarick Vanover, Carlos Rogers, Ceandris Brown, James Butler, Fred Bennett, Correll Buckhalter and Etric Pruitt.

The government also intends to charge Reche Caldwell.

The specific combination of charges for the group of players vary by individual, but among them are conspiracy to commit health care wire fraud, wire fraud and health care fraud. Portis was charged with all three. The charges carry a legal maximum combined penalty of 50 years. However, in white-collar cases, federal sentencing guidelines likely will call for a term much lower than that.

Prosecutors allege the players targeted the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which was established as part of the collective bargaining agreement in 2006. It provides tax-free reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical care expenses that were not covered by insurance and that were incurred by former players, their spouses and dependents.

According to the indictments, the players made claims for expensive pieces of medical equipment, including hyperbaric oxygen chambers, cryotherapy machines, ultrasound machines and electromagnetic therapy devices — that were neither purchased nor received. The typical claim was for $40,000 to $50,000.

According to the indictment, they fabricated letters from health care providers about use of  the medical equipment, fabricated prescriptions that were purportedly signed by health care providers and created fake invoices from medical equipment companies in an effort to show proof of equipment purchase.


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