MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Former Miami Hurricane Clinton Portis is among 10 ex-NFL players charged by the Department of Justice for having “developed and executed a fraudulent scheme to undermine a health care benefit plan established by the NFL.”
According to the DOJ, the 10 former pro players targeted the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which provided for tax-free reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical care expenses.
Prosecutors said the players, who are being charged in the Eastern District of Kentucky, made over $3.9 million in false and fraudulent claims from June 2017 to December 2018.
According to the indictments, the claims were for about $40,000 to $50,000 each.
Of those false and fraudulent claims, officials said, the plan paid out more than $3.4 million.
“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,” said U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan Jr.
Portis, who played running back for the Broncos and Redskins, is being charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of health care fraud.
The nine other players charged are:
- Robert McCune (LB, Redskins & Ravens)
- John Eubanks (LB, Redskins)
- Tamarick Vanover (WR, Chiefs)
- Ceandris “C.C.” Brown (S, Texans)
- James Butler (S, Giants & Rams)
- Fredrick Bennett (DB, Texans)
- Etric Pruitt (DB, Falcons, Seahawks)
- Carlos Rogers (CB, Redskins, 49ers)
- Correll Buckhalter (RB, Eagles)
The government has also filed noticed that it intends to charge former New Orleans WR Joe Horn and journeyman WR Donald “Reche” Caldwell with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
Prosecutors said the retired pros recruited other retired players to participate in the scheme in exchange for kickbacks that sometimes topped $10,000.
“Today’s indictments underscore that whoever you are, if you loot health care programs to line your own pockets, you will be held accountable by the Department of Justice,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski.
This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by the Health Care Fraud Unit of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
CBS4 News reached out to the FBI, but they are refraining from further comment.