The Justice Department charged 10 former National Football League players with defrauding a health care program for retired players of nearly $4 million, the Washington Post reports. After an FBI investigation, the Justice Department filed charges Thursday morning in a Kentucky federal court against Robert McCune, John Eubanks, Tamarick Vanover, Ceandris Brown, James Butler, Frederick Bennett, Correll Buckhalter, Etric Pruitt, Portis and Rogers. The government also intends to charge former NFL wide receivers Joe Horn and Reche Caldwell with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
The players allegedly submitted false claims to the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan for reimbursement for medical equipment — such as hyperbaric chambers, cryotherapy machines and ultrasound machines — costing between $40,000 and $50,000. The players recruited others into their scheme by offering to submit false claims in exchange for “kickbacks” and bribes that ranged up $10,000, according to the indictments. The players allegedly fabricated documents. The players filed $3.9 million in false claims, and between June 2017 and December 2018, the health plan paid them more than $3.4 million on those claims. Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said, “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.”