Former NFL players plead guilty to national health care fraud program | USAO-EDKY

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WASHINGTON – Three former National Football League (NFL) players have pleaded guilty for their role in a national scheme to defraud a health care benefits program for retired NFL players. A total of 15 defendants pleaded guilty to this scheme.

Clinton Portis, 40, of Fort Mill, South Carolina, and Tamarick Vanover, 47, of Tallahassee, Fla., Pleaded guilty on Friday. Robert McCune, 40, of Riverdale, Ga., Pleaded guilty on August 24. The former players have admitted to participating in a scheme to defraud Gene Upshaw NFL’s player health reimbursement account plan (the plan). The plan was established in accordance with the 2006 NFL collective agreement and provided for tax-free reimbursement of medical costs not covered by insurance and incurred by former players, their spouses and dependents – up to a maximum of $ 350,000 per player.

According to court documents, Portis caused false and fraudulent claims to be submitted to the Plan on his behalf over a two-month period, obtaining $ 99,264 in benefits for expensive medical equipment that was not actually provided. Vanover recruited three other former NFL players in the scam and helped them submit false and fraudulent claims to the plan, earning $ 159,510 for expensive medical equipment that was not actually provided. McCune orchestrated the fraud nationwide, which resulted in approximately $ 2.9 million in bogus and fraudulent claims being submitted to the plan and the plan paid approximately $ 2.5 million on those claims between June 2017 and April 2018.

Portis and Vanover pleaded guilty two days after a trial against them resulted in a suspended jury and the trial overturned on certain counts against Vanover. McCune, the third defendant in this trial, pleaded guilty to all charges against him on the second day of the trial. A new trial on the charges against Portis and Vanover was scheduled to begin today.

Portis and Vanover were originally indicted, along with McCune and seven other defendants, in the Eastern District of Kentucky in December 2019 for their role in the fraud. Since the initial charges were announced, five other retired NFL players have been charged under the program. The 12 other indicted defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud: Joseph Horn, Correll Buckhalter, Carlos Rogers, James Butler, Etric Pruitt, Ceandris Brown, John Eubanks, Antwan Odom, Darrell Reid, Anthony Montgomery, Fredrick Bennett, and Donald “Reche” Caldwell, who passed away in June 2020.

Portis and Vanover pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit health care fraud and agreed to reimburse the plan in full. Portis is expected to be sentenced on January 6, 2022 and Vanover is expected to be sentenced on January 22, 2022. They each face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

McCune pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit electronic fraud and healthcare fraud, 13 counts of healthcare fraud, 11 counts of wire fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft. McCune is expected to be sentenced on November 19. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for conspiring to commit electronic fraud and healthcare fraud, 10 years for each count of healthcare fraud, 20 years for each count of fraud electronic. , and two years for each aggravated count of identity theft.

A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

Deputy Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice; Acting US Attorney Carlton S. Shier IV for the Eastern District of Kentucky; and Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI Miami Field Office made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the FBI and included the efforts of various FBI field offices and resident agencies, including Augusta, Georgia; Birmingham and Mobile, Alabama; Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Colombia, South Carolina; Dallas and Houston, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Jackson, Mississippi; Lexington, Kentucky; New Orleans, Louisiana; Miami, Jacksonville and Tampa, Florida; Newark, New Jersey; Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento and Newport Beach, California; Phoenix, Arizona; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Washington, DC

Trial attorneys John (Fritz) Scanlon and Alexander J. Kramer of the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division and Assistant US Attorney Andrew E. Smith of the Eastern District of Kentucky are continuing the case.

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