Clinton Portis among NFL players charged in health care fraud scheme

Tanya Simon
December 13, 2019

Nearly a dozen former NFL players were charged on Thursday in the Eastern District of Kentucky for allegedly participating in a nationwide fraud scheme targeting the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan - which provides ex-athletes of the league, their spouses and dependants with up to $350,000 in tax-free refunds for out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by their insurance.

According to allegations in the indictments, McCune, Eubanks, Vanover, Buckhalter, Rogers and others recruited other players into the scheme by offering to submit false and fraudulent claims in exchange for kickbacks and bribes that ranged from a few thousand dollars to $10,000 or more per claim submitted.

In all, the players submitted more than $3.9 million in bogus claims to the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, resulting in more than $3.4 million in payouts between June 2017 and December 2018, the prosecutors allege.

Those indicted include: Robert McCune, John Eubanks, Tamarick Vanover, Carlos Rogers, Clinton Portis, Ceandris Brown, James Butler, Fredrick Bennett, Correll Buckhalter and Etric Pruitt.

Each player was charged with some combination of health care wire fraud, wire fraud and health care fraud.

An attorney for Portis who has also represented other Redskins on legal matters said his client is innocent, according to The Washington Post.

The government said it is also intending to charge Joe Horn and Reche Caldwell with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

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Former NFL All-Pro Clinton Portis was among a group of 10 former players charged Thursday with bilking millions of dollars from a league health care program through fraudulent claims, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Portis denied his involvement in the scheme through his attorney, Mark Dycio.

He added, "We have prioritized the investigation and prosecution of health care fraud in our office, and we appreciate the partnership we share with the Criminal Division and the FBI in pursuing these important matters".

Two former Detroit Lions players were among the 10 indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly defrauding a benefit program for National Football League retirees.

Four of the men charged have already been arrested, while six others have agreed to voluntarily turn themselves in to the Department of Justice.

Prosecutors moved to bring charges, in part because the scheme put the health care plan's tax-exempt status at risk, which could've forced other former players using the plan legitimately to pay more, Benczkowski said. In addition, there are nine separate counts of wire fraud and nine different counts of health care fraud.

Portis, who played nine seasons with Washington and the Denver Broncos, declared bankruptcy in 2015, court records show. It provides tax-free reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical care expenses not covered by insurance incurred by former players, their wives and their dependents with a maximum of $350,000 per player.

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