10 former NFL players charged in healthcare fraud scheme

10 former NFL players charged in healthcare fraud scheme
PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 03: Clinton Portis #26 of the Washington Redskins runs the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles on October 3, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Ten former NFL players have been charged with defrauding the league’s health care benefit program, the Justice Department said Thursday.

They include several Atlanta area men and five former players on the Washington Redskins, including former star running back Clinton Portis. The suspects include:

  • Robert McCune, 40, of Riverdale, Georgia, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, nine counts of wire fraud and nine counts of health care fraud.
  • John Eubanks, 36, of Cleveland, Mississippi; Tamarick Vanover, 45, of Tallahassee, Florida; and Carlos Rogers, 38, of Alpharetta, Georgia, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, two counts of wire fraud and two counts of health care fraud.
  • Clinton Portis, 38, of McLean, Virginia; Ceandris Brown, 36, of Fresno, Texas; James Butler, 37, of Atlanta, Georgia; and Fredrick Bennett, 35, of Port Wentworth, Georgia, are each 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.
  • Correll Buckhalter, 41, of Colleyville, Texas, and Etric Pruitt, 38, of Theodore, Alabama, are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud.

Prosecutors also intend to file criminal informations charging Joseph Horn, 47, of Columbia, South Carolina, and Donald “Reche” Caldwell, 40, of Tampa, Florida, with conspiracy to commit health care fraud in the Eastern District of Kentucky.

Prosecutors allege the players targeted the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which was established as part of a collective bargaining agreement in 2006. It provides tax-free reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical care expenses that were not covered by insurance and that were incurred by former players, their spouses and dependents.

The Justice Department alleges the players submitted nearly $4 million in false claims to the plan, resulting in over $3.4 million being paid out between June 2017 and December 2018.

Court papers allege Portis and seven other players submitted claims to be reimbursed for expensive medical equipment. But prosecutors allege they had never purchased or received the medical equipment.

The indictment filed in federal court in Kentucky alleges they fabricated letters from health care providers about using the medical equipment, fabricated prescriptions that were purportedly signed by healthcare providers and created fake invoices from medical equipment companies in an effort to prove the equipment was purchased.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.