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18 Former NBA Players Have Been Charged With Multi-Million Dollar Insurance Fraud

A number of former NBA players are being looked into for attempting to defraud the league’s healthcare fund.

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NBA players’ lives can be luxurious. You receive millions of dollars to play a game, along with celebrity, endorsement deals, complimentary equipment, and much more. The contracts aren’t quite as large, however, if you’re not a superstar, and the money can go rather quickly.

Occasionally, a lack of funds leads to desperate attempts to reduce spending.

18 former NBA players, including Terrence Williams, were accused of defrauding the league’s health insurance fund of approximately $4 million by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan. Among the players accused were Tony Allen, Sebastian Telfair, and Glen “Big Baby” Davis.

The former players were charged with filing fictitious claims for medical, dental, and other healthcare services in order to earn payment for care they never got. The overall winnings for the players came to roughly $2.5 million.

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Terrence Williams (#55) dunks during a game with the Boston Celtics. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

During a Boston Celtics game, Terrence Williams (#55) slams the glass. (Image: Jared Wickerham/Getty) )

A accusation of conspiring to conduct healthcare fraud against all parties implicated carries a maximum 20-year jail sentence. Williams was additionally accused with serious identity theft.

Prosecutors claim that Williams got false medical and dental invoices between 2017 and 2020. The other players received those invoices from him, and they later submitted fictitious claims to the NBA’s healthcare fund. The plan paid the claims, thinking they were legitimate because it is funded by NBA teams and intended to promote players’ health and wellbeing both while they are active and after they retire.

Williams made around $230,000 from the defendants, and also allegedly reviewed some claims before they were submitted. His identity theft charge comes from pretending to be a plan manager when another player didn’t give him a kickback.

Allen received $420,075 from the healthcare fund, and Telfair received $358,356 for the chiropractic and dental services they requested. The fund retrospectively refused the payments after realizing the claims were false. Telfair didn’t return any money, whereas Allen returned all of the money he received with the exception of $70,000.

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Many times, gamers were making claims for the same kinds of dental and chiropractic services. The explanation that the athletes were there for injury treatment was sometimes included in the notes from the doctors’ offices. The letters, though, occasionally lacked official letterhead and frequently contained grammatical and typographical errors, including one player who misspelled his own name. And the players weren’t where they said they were—sometimes staying in a different state entirely from where their alleged treatment took place.

According to the indictment, the false medical claims totaled between $65,000 and $420,000. As the case is ongoing, the charged players may have to repay the money and could be looking at substantial jail time.

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