Former Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis is one of ten retired NFL players accused of fraud. Federal prosecutors said that the players created fake invoices for medical equipment they never purchased and submitted claims for reimbursement from a fund that covers out-of-pocket health care expenses for former NFL athletes.
The players submitted $3.9 million in fraudulent claims for medical equipment, which included ultrasound machines and a hyperbaric chamber to the "Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan," between June 2017 and December 2018. They were reimbursed $3.4 million before Cigna, the company in charge of handling the plan, flagged the invoices.
Many of the items are usually purchased by doctors and medical clinics, not individuals. That raised red flags with employees at the health insurance company, and they contacted the authorities after noticing the irregular claims, which were usually between $40,000 and $50,000.
"By defrauding the plan and treating it like their own personal ATM, sadly the defendants placed the plan's tax-exempt status at risk and threatened the ability of law-abiding former players to continue to receive tax-free reimbursement for legitimate medical expenses for themselves or their families," Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said.
In addition to Portis, other former players accused of fraud include cornerback Carlos Rogers, linebacker Robert McCune, cornerback John Eubanks, wide receiver Tamarick Vanover, cornerback Ceandris Brown, safety James Butler, safety Etric Pruitt, cornerback Fredrick Bennett and running back Correll Buckhalter.
They were charged with multiple counts of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud and face up to 20 years behind bars if convicted.
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