The U.S. Justice Department announced on Thursday that 10 ex-NFL players have been charged in a scheme that allegedly defrauded the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account of nearly $4 million.
Clinton Portis, Carlos Rogers, Robert McCune, John Eubanks, Tamarick Vanover, Ceandris Brown, James Butler, Frederick Bennett, Etric Pruitt, and Correll Buckhalter were charged in two separate indictments. New Orleans WDSU News reported that Joe Horn and Reche Caldwell will also be charged.
According to the DOJ indictment, the Healthcare scheme allegedly operated by submitting false claims to the reimbursement account for expensive medical equipment that was never purchased. The ringleaders would recruit eligible players and offer to submit claims on their behalf by filling out fraudulent claims for expensive medical equipment like hyperbaric oxygen chambers, ultrasound machines that are normally used in major hospitals, and electromagnetic therapy devices used on animals.
The medical claims were around $40,000 to $50,000 each, and were submitted between June 2017 and December 2018. According to the indictment, the players submitted $3.9 million in false claims, of which $3.4 million was paid out. The Health care scheme ringleaders allegedly received “kickbacks” and bribes for as much as $10,000.
Two separate government indictments filed in the U.S. Eastern District of Kentucky outline two alleged conspiracies involving different players related to the same scheme to defraud the health care plan. Those charged in the indictments are the following:
- Robert McCune, 40, of Riverdale, Georgia, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, nine counts of wire fraud and nine counts of health care fraud.
- John Eubanks, 36, of Cleveland, Mississippi; Tamarick Vanover, 45, of Tallahassee, Florida; and Carlos Rogers, 38, of Alpharetta, Georgia, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, two counts of wire fraud and two counts of health care fraud.
- Clinton Portis, 38, of McLean, Virginia; Ceandris Brown, 36, of Fresno, Texas; James Butler, 37, of Atlanta, Georgia; and Fredrick Bennett, 35, of Port Wentworth, Georgia, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of health care fraud.
- Correll Buckhalter, 41, of Colleyville, Texas, and Etric Pruitt, 38, of Theodore, Alabama, are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud.
The Department of Justice intends to file a bill of information against Joe Horn, and Donald “Reche” Caldwell, 40, of Tampa, Florida, with conspiracy to commit health care fraud in the Eastern District of Kentucky, the agency said in a news release issued Thursday. According to sources, Horn is cooperating in the investigation.
“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., for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “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. We have prioritized the investigation and prosecution of health care fraud in our office, and we appreciate the partnership we share with the Criminal Division and the FBI in pursuing these important matters.” (L. Fouroux)