Ten former NFL players – including Pro Bowler Clinton Portis — have been charged in a “brazen” multi-million dollar nationwide scheme that defrauded a health care program for retired players, federal authorities announced Thursday.
The former players – including five ex-Washington Redskins – are accused of submitting false claims and getting money for pricey medical equipment like hyperbaric oxygen chambers and cryotherapy machines that were never purchased or received, prosecutors said.
“The defendants are alleged to have developed and executed a fraudulent scheme to undermine a health care benefit plan established by the NFL – one established to help their former teammates and colleagues pay for legitimate medical expenses,” Kentucky US Attorney Robert Duncan Jr. said in a statement.
Along with Portis, ex-NFLers Carlos Rogers, Robert McCune, John Eubanks, Tamarick Vanover, Ceandris Brown, James Butler, Fredrick Bennett, Correll Buckhalter and Etric Pruitt were also charged in the scheme.
Federal prosecutors also intend to file charges in the Eastern District of Kentucky against two other onetime NFL players, identified as former receivers Joe Horn and Donald Caldwell.
In all, the players submitted more than $3.9 million in bogus claims to the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, resulting in more than $3.4 million in payouts between June 2017 and December, federal prosecutors said.
“Ten former NFL players allegedly committed a brazen, multi-million 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 Benczkowski said in a statement.
“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.”