Ex-NFL RB Clinton Portis pleads guilty in health care fraud scheme

Former NFL running back Clinton Portis pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to commit health care fraud, part of a scheme involving more than a dozen ex-NFL players.

Portis, 40, signed a plea agreement just a few days after the conclusion of his criminal trial in a U.S. District Court in Kentucky, in which the jury could not agree on a verdict. A second trial had been scheduled to start Tuesday.

The two-time Pro Bowler is set to be sentenced on Jan. 6 and will likely to face prison time. The charge to which he pleaded guilty carries a sentence of up to 10 years.

Portis' attorney did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment Tuesday.

As part of his plea agreement, Portis admitted to participating in a nationwide scheme in which ex-NFL players filed fraudulent reimbursement claims with the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which allows former players to seek funds for out-of-pocket medical care that is not covered by insurance.

In this Sept. 27, 2009, file photo, Washington running back Clinton Portis looks on against the Detroit Lions during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit.

According to court records, Portis allowed Robert McCune, a former NFL linebacker, to submit reimbursement claims on his behalf for an oxygen chamber and a cryosauna. Portis received $99,264 from the NFL's plan but never purchased the equipment.

"Portis knew the claims McCune submitted on his behalf were false and fraudulent or was aware of a high probability that that the claims McCune submitted on his behalf were false and fraudulent and deliberately ignored that fact," the plea agreement reads.

Former Philadelphia Eagles running back Correll Buckhalter and former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn are among the other ex-players who have pleaded guilty to charges related to the scheme.

Prosecutors allege the ex-players filed for more than $3.9 million in false and fraudulent claims between June 2017 and December 2018.

Contact Tom Schad at or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Clinton Portis, ex-NFL RB, pleads guilty in healthcare fraud scheme