The Justice Department announced charges Thursday morning against 10 former NFL players spawned by an alleged scheme to defraud millions of dollars from the league’s health care benefits program.
According to The Washington Post, court documents reveal that amongst those named is a group of former Washington Redskins players including running back Clinton Portis and cornerback Carlos Rogers.
After an extensive FBI investigation, the retired players are being accused of defrauding a health care program for retired players of nearly $4 million and the DOJ said it intends to file charges against two other players as well.
In addition to Portis and Rodgers, the Justice Department also filed charges in the Eastern District of Kentucky against Robert McCune, John Eubanks, Tamarick Vanover, Ceandris Brown, James Butler, Frederick Bennett, Correll Buckhalter, and Etric Pruitt.
The feds have also filed a notice that they intend to charge former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn, 47, with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
In a press release, the Justice Department outlined how the charges range from health care fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy, totaling more than $3.9 million in false health care claims.
“Ten former NFL players allegedly committed a brazen, multimillion dollar fraud on a health care plan meant to help their former teammates and other retired players pay legitimate, out-of-pocket medical expenses,” said assistant attorney general Brian Benczkowski. “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.”
Prosecutors believe that between June of 2017 and December of 2018 players submitted false and fraudulent claims for high-cost medical equipment to the league’s Gene Upshaw Health Reimbursement Account Plan.
Mark Dycio, an attorney for Portis who has previously represented other Redskins on legal matters, maintained his client’s was innocence.
“Clinton Portis had no knowledge that his participation in what he believed to be an NFL sanctioned medical reimbursement program was illegal,” Dycio said. “He is completely taken aback by this indictment and will move forward with the process of clearing his good name and those of his fellow NFL alumni.”