NBA Player Health Care Fraud Case Expands to Charge Jazz Assistant Coach

The U.S. Justice Department announced on Wednesday an expansion of its criminal case against retired NBA players who are accused of submitting false invoices to health care providers. U.S. Attorney Damian Williams and FBI assistant director Michael Driscoll revealed that Keyon Dooling, who played for seven NBA teams between 2000 and 2013, has been arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud. Dooling, the 10th overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft, is currently an assistant coach on the Utah Jazz.

Last October, Terrence Williams, Ruben Patterson, Sebastian Telfair, Glen “Big Baby” Davis and 14 other retired NBA players were charged on similar grounds. Dooling, like the other players, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted on the conspiracy charge, a felony. The other players all pleaded not guilty and were released on bail.

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The players are accused of submitting invoices that contained the exact same invoice numbers, dates and dollar amounts. For example, some of the players allegedly submitted invoices for dental work wherein each claimed to have endodontic therapy on the same six teeth on the same date, and crowns on the same six teeth on another shared date. The players’ purported goal was to defraud the collectively bargained Health and Welfare Benefit Plan, which is designed to provide financial resources to retired NBA players facing medical expenses. The group is also accused of using kickbacks and bribes to compensate others involved in the conspiracy.

According to Wednesday’s indictment, Dooling and Aamir Wahab, a California dentist who was also charged and arrested, exchanged the following messages in April 2018:

DOOLING: Let’s make this thing grow sir.

WAHAB: Lol I’m down bro[.] Get me the whole NBA [laughing emoji]

DOOLING: Yes we will[.]

Two months later, prosecutors say Dooling and another alleged co-conspirator messaged one another about a fraudulent transaction. Dooling, the indictment asserts, was explicit about the transaction, seemed mindful of federal law that requires banks to disclose to the IRS deposits that exceed $10,000 and even included his bank account information.

DOOLING: “Hey bro, here’s the breakdown: 5600 for you and me. Then 10800 for the guy. I fronted him 4200$ so you can put it with my 5600= 9800 to My [bank account information]. . . . That way everything is under 10k.”

Judge Valerie Caproni, who is presiding over Brian Flores’ employment discrimination lawsuit against the NFL, is presiding over the retired NBA players’ case. Dooling will initially be presented at a federal district court in Utah. As the other charged players have done, Dooling can plead not guilty and petition to be released on bail. Attorneys for the players could attempt to negotiate plea deals in exchange for lighter punishments.

Last October, three retired NFL players—Clinton Portis, Tamarick Vanover and Robert McCune—pleaded guilty for their roles in defrauding a health care benefit program for retired NFL players. They joined 12 others who had earlier pleaded guilty. Portis was sentenced to six months in prison, Vanover received a sentence of one year and one day, while McCune was sentenced to five years behind bars.

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