Life in the NFL can be rough. The game is taxing on its players, with punishing hits and lingering injuries. It's only natural that players might seek treatment to try and ease their pain. That's why the NFL offers a health care benefits plan for retirees. But some players may find the plan more beneficial than others.
Clinton Portis and Joe Horn are among 12 retired players accused of defrauding the league's benefits plan. Ten of the players were charged in indictments for allegedly submitting false health care claims. The Department of Justice also plans to file charges against two other players.
The scheme reportedly lasted from June 2017 to December 2018. The players made more than $3.9 million, with over $3.4 million being paid out.
Four players were arrested with six others turning themselves in. The defendants include Portis, Frederick Bennett, Ceandris Brown, Correll Buckhalter, James Butler, John Eubanks, Robert McCune, Etric Pruitt, Carlos Rogers, and Tamarick Vanover. The government also plans to file criminal charges against Horn and Reche Caldwell.
According to prosecutors, the former players submitted false claims for expensive treatments, such as hyperbaric oxygen chambers, ultrasound machines, and electromagnetic therapy devices. The latter two are used for women and horses, respectively.
The claims were worth roughly $40,000 to $50,000 each. Some defendants also reportedly recruited other players to participate in the scheme.
All ten defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy. Additionally, McCune is charged with nine counts of wire fraud and nine counts of health care fraud; Rogers and Vanover are charged with two counts each of wire fraud and health care fraud; and Bennett, Brown, Butler, and Portis are charged with one count each of wire fraud and health care fraud.
Portis earned more than $43.1 million during his nine-year career in the NFL. However, he filed for bankruptcy during retirement.
Now, the players will wait to hear their verdict. If convicted, they'll face up to 20 years in prison and fines of more than $250,000.