Sports | October 7, 2021 3:29 pm

18 Ex-NBA Players Charged in $4 Million Healthcare Fraud Plot

According to the indictment, the defendants submitted false reimbursement claims for medical and dental expenses

Former Celtic Glen Davis controls a rebound during the 2011 NBA playoffs
Former Celtic Glen "Big Baby" Davis in 2011. He was charged with 17 other former NBA players.
Nick Laham/Getty

Following an investigation by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the FBI and the NYPD, 18 former NBA players and one of their wives have each been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud for allegedly defrauding the league’s Health and Welfare Benefit Plan out of about $4 million.

According to an indictment unveiled Thursday in New York, Terrence Williams, a former Net, Celtic, Rocket and King, masterminded a plan that involved the ex-players submitting false claims to the NBA Players’ Health and Welfare Benefit Plan for medical and dental expenses that were never actually incurred.

Williams, who began his career as a first-round pick in 2009, allegedly received kickbacks from former players including Sebastian Telfair, Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Tony Allen, Shannon Brown, Tony Wroten, Ruben Patterson, Darius Miles, William Bynum, Christopher Douglas-Roberts and Jamario Moon after he provided them with fraudulent invoices from a chiropractor and dentist in Southern California and a wellness office in Washington state. Allen’s wife Desiree was the only non-player charged in the indictment.

“Today we’ve charged 18 former NBA players and one spouse for their alleged participation in a healthcare fraud scheme that resulted in nearly $2 million in losses to the National Basketball Association’s Health and Welfare Benefit Plan,” said FBI assistant director Michael J. Driscoll. “The health care industry loses tens of billions of dollars a year to fraud. Thanks to the work of our dedicated FBI agents and partners alike, cases like this demonstrate our continued focus in uncovering health care fraud scams that harm both the industry and the consumers of their services.”

The conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Williams is also charged with one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison.

“The defendants’ playbook involved fraud and deception,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss. “Thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement partners, their alleged scheme has been disrupted and they will have to answer for their flagrant violations of law.”

At the time of the indictment’s release, only three of the defendants, including Allen but not his wife, were at large. All 19 of the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

A similar case involving former NFL players including former star running back Clinton Portis made news last month.