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18 former NBA players charged with defrauding league's health plan

18 former NBA players charged with defrauding league's health plan
Prosecutors said the fraudulent claims totaled about $3.9 million, of which $2.5 million was paid out. File Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Federal prosecutors in New York said Thursday that they have charged 18 former NBA players with defrauding the league's health plan out of almost $4 million by filing a number of phony claims between 2017 and 2020.

According to the charges, the players submitted claims for various medical and dental expenses that were never performed and they were intended to defraud the NBA Players' Health and Welfare Benefit Plan.

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Prosecutors said on Thursday that 16 of the former players named in the indictment had been arrested. A 19th person named in the indictment, Desiree Allen, was also charged with conspiracy.

The players named in the case include Sebastian Telfair, Ronald Glen Davis, Darius Miles, Alan Anderson, Anthony Allen, Shannon Brown, William Bynum, Christopher Douglas-Roberts, Melvin Ely, Jamario Moon, Milton Palacio, Ruben Patterson, Eddie Robinson, Gregory Smith, Charles Watson Jr., Antoine Wright, Anthony Wroten and Terrence Williams.

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The former players face a charge of conspiracy to commit health and wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Williams also faces a charge of aggravated identity theft, which has a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison.

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A 19th person named in the indictment, Desiree Allen, was also charged with conspiracy.

Authorities said all but four of the defendants have been arrested. Anthony Allen, Douglas-Roberts, Smith and Robinson were still at large, they said.

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Prosecutors said the fraudulent claims totaled about $3.9 million, of which $2.5 million was paid out.

"The defendants' playbook involved fraud and deception. 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," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement.

The indictment names Williams as the leader of the scheme and prosecutors said he admitted recruiting other players into the scheme. He received at least $230,000 in payments from ten players for providing false documentation, they added.

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