Ten former National Football League players — some of them widely known, former Pro Bowl players — have been charged in an alleged nationwide scheme to defraud a heath care benefit program. Two others may soon face criminal charges.
The defendants are being charged out of the Eastern District of Kentucky. Two separate indictments cover two alleged conspiracies involving different players in the same scheme, according to the DOJ. Defendants are:
- Robert McCune, 40, a former linebacker for the Washington Redskins, and Baltimore Ravens. He 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; Carlos Rogers, 38; Tamarick Vanover, 45, are 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. Eubanks played for the Washington Redskins, Rogers went to the Pro Bowl as a cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers, and Vanover played most of his career for the Kansas City Chiefs.
- Clinton Portis, 38; Ceandris Brown, 36; James Butler, 37; and Fredrick Bennett, 35 are 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. Portis, who also went to the Pro Bowl, played most of his career as a running back with the Washington Redskins. Brown was a safety for the Houston Texans. Bennett started his career as a defensive back for the Houston Texans.
- Correll Buckhalter, 41; and Etric Pruitt, 38 are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud. Buckhalter started his career as a running back for the Philadelphia Eagles. Pruitt started as a defensive back for the Atlanta Falcons.
“Ten former NFL players allegedly committed a brazen, multi-million dollar fraud on a health care plan meant to help their former teammates and other retired players pay legitimate, out-of-pocket medical expenses,” Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski said Thursday. “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.”
Authorities also announced they filed a notice of intent to file criminal informations against former Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn, 47, and Donald “Reche” Caldwell, 40, for conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
“The defendants are alleged to have developed and executed a fraudulent scheme to undermine a health care benefit plan established by the NFL – one established to help their former teammates and colleagues pay for legitimate medical expenses,” said U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan, Jr., for the Eastern District of Kentucky, in a statement obtained by Law&Crime. “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. We have prioritized the investigation and prosecution of health care fraud in our office, and we appreciate the partnership we share with the Criminal Division and the FBI in pursuing these important matters.”
[Image via Win McNamee/Getty Images]