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18 US basketballers charged with $3.9m fraud

Photo: Reuters

18 former National Basketball Association players have been charged with defrauding the league’s health and welfare benefit plan out of $3.9 million by seeking reimbursement for medical and dental work that was never performed.

Reuters reports that an indictment filed with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan says, players received $2.5 million in fraudulent proceeds, with 10 paying the alleged ringleader, Terrence Williams, at least $230,000 in kickbacks.

Prosecutors said Williams offered false invoices in exchange for the kickbacks and helped obtain bogus “letters of medical necessity” for 3 players.

“The defendants’ playbook involved fraud and deception,” U.S. Attorney in Manhattan Audrey Strauss said at a press conference.

The alleged scheme involved two dental offices and a chiropractic office in the Los Angeles area, and a wellness office in Washington state.

Prosecutors said some invoices showed Allen, Davis and the defendant Tony Wroten receiving crowns on the same 6 teeth on the same day, and Davis receiving crowns on 8 teeth in Beverly Hills when he was actually in Nevada.

The defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud.

Williams was also charged with identity theft for posing as a plan manager questioning a reimbursement to “frighten” Chris Douglas-Roberts, a defendant who had not paid a kickback, into re-engaging with him.

Other defendants include Alan Anderson, Shannon Brown, Will Bynum, Melvin Ely, Jamario Moon, Darius Miles, Ruben Patterson, Eddie Robinson, Greg Smith, C.J. Watson and Antoine Wright. Allen’s wife Desiree is also a defendant.