The latest scandal to rock the sports world was the recent announcement that 18 former NBA players have been charged in relation to an alleged multi-million dollar health insurance fraud.
The indictment filed with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan stated that $2.5 million in proceeds were received by the players as part of the scheme to defraud the NBA’s Health and Welfare Benefit Plan (the “Plan”). The Plan’s purpose is to reimburse certain out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred by current and former NBA players, their spouses and dependents.
Running point in this scheme was Terrence Williams, 11th overall 2009 NBA draft pick by the former New Jersey Nets. In addition to the $2.5 million received by the players, Williams allegedly received at least $230,000 in kickbacks in exchange for creating fake invoices and letters of medical necessity. Williams also purportedly posed as a manager for the Plan in an effort to intimidate another defendant who had not followed through with a kickback payment.
Two dental offices in Beverly Hills, a chiropractic office in Encino, California and a wellness office in the state of Washington have been implicated in the scheme. According to Audrey Strauss, United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, one of the charged defendants submitted a claim to the Plan for IV sedation, root canals and crowns on eight teeth at a dentist office in Beverly Hills for a total cost of almost $48,000. However, evidence shows that the defendant was playing professional basketball in Taiwan during the time that these medical services were supposedly received.
The defendants’ charges consist of conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud. In addition to these charges, Williams was also charged with identity theft.
This article is part of series highlighting fraud from the professional sporting world in support of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiner's (ACFE) annual International Fraud Awareness Week. We invite you to read our other articles at the links below.
About International Fraud Awareness Week
ACFE's International Fraud Awareness Week is an opportunity for anti-fraud professionals and communities to come together to look at how far reaching the effects of fraud can be. Check out our Schneider Downs Business Consulting LinkedIn page throughout the week for additional information from the ACFE.
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