Clinton Portis, Joe Horn among 12 ex-NFL players charged with defrauding NFL healthcare program

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Clinton Portis is one of ten ex-NFL players charged with defrauding the NFL's veteran player healthcare fund. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Clinton Portis is one of ten ex-NFL players charged with defrauding the NFL's veteran player healthcare fund. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ten ex-NFL players were charged in a scheme that allegedly defrauded the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account of nearly $4 million, the U.S. Justice Department announced on Thursday.

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.

The Washington Post reported that Joe Horn and Reche Caldwell will also be charged.

According to the indictment, the scheme allegedly operated by submitting false claims to the reimbursement account for expensive medical equipment that was never purchased. The ringleaders would find eligible players and offer to submit claims for them, and then fill out fraudulent claims for expensive medical equipment like hyperbaric oxygen chambers, ultrasound machines that are typically used on pregnant women, and electromagnetic therapy devices used on horses.

They would obtain fabricated support documents such as invoices, and letters or prescriptions from medical providers, and then submit the claims. In exchange for obtaining the false documentation and submitting the fraudulent claims, the ringleaders allegedly received “kickbacks” and bribes for as much as $10,000.

The 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 Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account is meant to cover medical expenses for former NFL players after their NFL veterans insurance runs out.

“Ten former NFL players allegedly committed a brazen, multimillion dollar fraud on a health care plan meant to help their former teammates and other retired players pay legitimate, out-of-pocket medical expenses,” assistant attorney general Brian Benczkowski said in a statement on Thursday, via the Washington Post. “Today’s indictments underscore that whoever you are, if you loot health care programs to line your own pockets, you will be held accountable by the Department of Justice.”

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