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Former NFL players charged with scamming more than $3M from league health care program

A group of former NFL players was indicted by the Department of Justice on Thursday for allegedly filing fraudulent claims with an NFL health care program and receiving more than $3 million, according to the Washington Post.

Ten players have been charged, and two more are expected to be charged, as a part of the scheme that allegedly took place between June 2017 and December 2018.

Clinton Portis, Carlos Rogers, Robert McCune, John Eubanks, Tamarick Vanover, Ceandris Brown, James Butler, Frederick Bennett, Correll Buckhalter, and Etric Pruitt were charged Thursday. Joe Horn and Reche Caldwell are expected to be charged soon.

The charges for the players include combinations of wire fraud, health care fraud, and health care wire fraud. Health care provider Cigna tipped off investigators to the irregular claims.

“Ten former NFL players allegedly committed a brazen, multimillion 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 Brian 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.”

The indicted players are accused of submitting fraudulent claims to the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan. They submitted claims for expensive medical equipment such as cryotherapy machines and hyperbaric chambers that cost up to $50,000 each.

The players allegedly expanded the scam by recruiting other players in and helping them file claims in exchange for a cut of the money they received. In total, they filed $3.9 million in claims and were reimbursed for $3.4 million. The plan was elaborate, the indictment claims, with fabricated invoices and prescriptions.

Portis may be the most high-profile player indicted. He is a former star running back for the Miami Hurricanes in college and the Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins in the NFL.

After his playing career ended in 2010, Portis (who earned $43 million during his career) said he was defrauded of his retirement money by corrupt managers, whom he told Sports Illustrated in 2017 he came very close to murdering before a friend talked him out of it. His lawyer has claimed Portis is innocent of the fraud charges.

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