Feds Charge 18 Ex-NBA Players With Insurance Scam

NBC News reports:

Eighteen former NBA players were charged with attempting to defraud the NBA’s Health and Welfare Benefit Plan of nearly $4 million, officials said Thursday. “The defendants’ playbook involved fraud and deception,” U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss told reporters. “They will have to answer for their flagrant violations of law.”

Strauss called Terrence Williams, a 34-year-old Seattle native who spent four seasons in he NBA, the “scheme’s linchpin,” submitting false claims to the league’s health care plan, federal prosecutors out of New York City said. The players submitted $3.9 million in fake claims and $2.5 million was paid out, officials said.

The New York Daily News reports:

Court papers recounted a lucrative scheme long on nerve but lousy in execution. Letters purportedly detailing treatment from a California chiropractor’s office were rife with red flag-raising errors, the indictment alleged.

“Not on letterhead, contain unusual formatting, have grammatical errors,” the court documents said. “And one of the letters misspells a purported patient’s name.”

In another case, two claims filed about a month detailed different injuries to the players involved. And claims related to a pair of Beverly Hills dentists involved players who were not even in California on the dates cited in paperwork, the indictment charged.

The New York Post reports:

The scheme was allegedly orchestrated by ex-New Jersey Net shooting guard Terrence Williams, who recruited other retired athletes and supplied them with the bogus invoices and letters for reimbursement in exchange for at least $230,000 in kickbacks, the indictment charges.

Among the defendants are 18 former NBA players — including six-time NBA All-Defensive Team member Tony Allen and former Lakers guard Shannon Brown. Allen’s wife, Desiree Allen, is also charged in the scheme.