Ex-Celtics Big Man Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis Gets 40 Months in Prison

U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni Thursday sentenced former Boston Celtics forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis to 40 months of prison and three years of supervised release for his jury conviction last November of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiring to make false statements relating to health care matters, one count of health care fraud, and one count of wire fraud.

The counts stem from Davis’ involvement in a criminal scheme involving multiple former players to defraud the NBA players’ health and benefit welfare plan.

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Davis, 38, faced the possibility of being sentenced to decades in prison, though sentencing guidelines recommended a sentence of between 37 to 46 months.

In a sentencing memo, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams urged Caproni to sentence Davis to a term within the recommended range. Williams wrote that Davis was more culpable than his co-conspirators, some of whom “merely made a false submission” to the benefit plan. Davis went further by utilizing forged signatures, visiting a physician “for a phony appointment,” and lying to the plan’s counsel.

Williams stressed that Davis “knowingly” engaged in multiple instances of defrauding a plan intended to benefit NBA players and their families. Recordings of Davis played at the trial showed that he “was intelligent and alert” and “knew exactly how to use the plan and how to defraud it.”

Davis also involved other people in the scheme. He sent “fake invoices” to his business manager, Edgar Abrams, instead of filling out reimbursement claim forms for himself. Williams stressed that Abrams became suspicious and repeatedly warned Davis about the need to make legitimate claims.

Davis’ attorney, Sabrina Shroff, submitted a sentencing letter on her client’s behalf and urged Caproni to impose a sentence of time served, three years of supervised release with a community service component and additional provisions for mental health and addiction therapy.

Shroff’s letter described Davis as having a difficult childhood in Louisiana. He never met his biological father and playing sports “saved” him. Davis is portrayed as a poor student but also “kind and trusting.”

Shroff also included excerpts from a letter by NBPA general counsel Ron Klempner, who wrote that Davis “epitomized this gentle giant character and mindset.” Klempner added that where Davis exercised bad judgment, “I don’t believe it’s ever been because he has evil motives or any sense of malice.”

Shroff also cited the impressions of Columbia Medical Center clinical neuropsychologist Elise Caccappolo, whose findings supported a diagnosis of Davis as “intellectually disabled”—and, by implication, less blameworthy for his misdeeds. Caccappolo wrote that Davis “has a high level of naiveté that can lead him to be victimized” and asserted “society would be better served by providing Glen with a program of therapeutic support that helps him to understand his personal strengths and recognize the consequences of his actions so as to assist him with the goal of developing resiliency and positive coping skills.”

The letter went on to claim that Davis’ nickname, Big Baby, “recognizes these cognitive and emotional limitations.” During his NBA career, Davis offered several explanations for the nickname, including that he was born weighing 14 pounds and thus was truly a big baby.

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