CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Department of Justice announced criminal charges against 10 former professional football players accused of defrauding the NFL’s health care program.
The former NFL players named in two separate U.S. District Court Eastern District of Kentucky indictments include:
- Robert McCune (Signed by the Cleveland Browns during the offseason in August 2009, cut 11 days later)
- John Eubanks
- Tamarick Vanover
- Clinton Portis
- Ceandris Brown
- James Butler
- Frederick Bennett (Played for the Cincinnati Bengals for five games in 2010)
- Etric Pruitt
- Carlos Rogers
- Correll Buckhalter
Charges include wire and health care fraud.
According to the FBI and Department of Justice, the ringleaders of the conspiracy would find eligible players to submit fraudulent claims in exchange for financial kickbacks. Those claims would be submitted with fabricated supporting documents. Players then collected a check from the insurance company and paid their kickbacks before repeating the scam cycle.
The health care company Cigna eventually detected fraudulent claims and submitted those to the Department of Justice for investigating.
“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,” said U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan Jr., for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “The defendants allegedly submitted false claims to the plan and obtained money for expensive medical equipment that was never purchased or received, depriving that plan of valuable resources to help others meet their medical needs.
Losses totaling nearly $4 million from the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan were confirmed during the ongoing investigation.
Four of the players were arrested prior to the DOJ press conference. The remaining six suspects agrees to turn themselves in.
The DOJ also said they intend on indicting two additional former players, Joe Horn and Donald “Reche” Caldwell, in connection to the scheme.
Federal officials say there are no current NFL players who are under investigation in connection the health care scam.