18 former NBA players accused of defrauding league benefit plan


Eighteen former NBA players have been charged with defrauding the league’s nearly $ 4 million health and welfare benefit plan, the Southern District of New York City attorney’s office said Thursday. York.

Players include Terrence Williams, Sebastian Telfair, Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Tony Allen, Ruben Patterson, Shannon Brown, Will Bynum, Christopher Douglas-Roberts, Alan Anderson, Tony Wroten, Jamario Moon, and more. Sixteen of the 19 people indicted in the indictment are already in custody, authorities added on Thursday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has scheduled a press conference for Thursday at a Manhattan courthouse to discuss the indictment, which alleges the 18 former players – and 19 people in total, with Tony Allen’s wife Also indicted – were involved in a scheme that drained more than $ 3.9 million from the NBA’s health and wellness benefits plan through false claims.

The scheme – where accused players were reimbursed for medical procedures that never took place – was implemented from 2017 to 2020, the indictment says. Each player has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud.

According to the indictment, obtained by Rolling stone, Terrence Williams – a six-year-old NBA vet who was selected in the first round by the New Jersey Nets in 2009 – “orchestrated” the program by offering to submit “fraudulent bills” to chiropractors, dentists and physicians on behalf of players ; the players, in turn, provided Williams with a “bribe” when claims for the falsified medical procedures were reimbursed by the NBA’s benefits program.

“Williams was the linchpin of the project. He provided the other former players with fake invoices for medical and dental procedures that they never received, ”US lawyer Audrey Strauss said at a press conference Thursday. “The defendants’ playbook involved fraud and deception… they will be held accountable for their gross violations of the law.”

Strauss gave an overview of the program: “First, Williams got fraudulent medical and dental bills. Second, he sent those invoices to his co-conspirators, other former NBA players. Third, the co-conspirators submitted the fraudulent invoices to the regime. Fourth, ignoring that the plan was fraudulent, the plan paid off most of the defendants’ claims. Fifth, in many cases, players have paid bribes to Williams. “

A total of $ 3.9 million in false claims were filed, with players receiving $ 2.5 million in reimbursement from fraudulent claims; Williams’ bribe was $ 230,000, Strauss added. When an accused failed to pay Williams his bribe, Williams attempted to scare the player into re-engaging with Williams by posing as an employee of the plan’s administrative director by claiming that ‘there was an issue with the player’s bill that could force him to reimburse the claim. ” As a result of this allegation, Williams also faces a charge of aggravated identity theft for impersonating the administrative director.

Strauss also mentioned the case against former Houston Rockets player Greg Smith, who claimed to have received $ 48,000 in dental treatment at a Beverly Hills dental office on December 20, 2018; the prosecutor’s office quickly discovered – via box scores – that Smith had spent that day playing basketball in Taiwan. “Travel records, emails, GPS data, and other evidence show that defendants who allegedly received medical and dental services at one location on a given day were often far from vendor offices when claims departments were supposed to be provided, ”Strauss said. .



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