Sep 8, 2021 - Sports

Three retired NFL players plead guilty to health care fraud scheme

Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis (26) during the game at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ

Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis during a game at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on Sept. 4, 2008. Photo: Getty Images

Three retired NFL players pleaded guilty to numerous fraud charges related to a nationwide health care fraud scheme, bringing the total number of retired athletes who have pleaded guilty to 15, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.

Driving the news: The three defendants admitted to defrauding the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan. The fund, created in 2006, gives tax-free reimbursements of up up to $350,000 per player for out-of-pocket medical expenses.

  • The defendants submitted false and fraudulent claims to the insurance plan, receiving reimbursements for medical equipment that was never provided to the players, per the DOJ.
  • Clinton Portis, who played for the Washington Football Team and Denver Broncos, and Tamarick Vanover, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers, pleaded guilty to one count each on Sept. 3.
  • Robert McCune, who played for several teams in the NFL and allegedly orchestrated the gambit, pleaded guilty to 28 felony counts on Aug. 24, per the DOJ.
  • Portis received $99,264 in benefits over a two-month period; Vanover received $159,510.
  • The scheme was tied to approximately $2.9 million in false claims, $2.5 million of which were paid out between June 2017 and April 2018, per the DOJ.
  • The big picture: Portis, Vanover and McCune, who were indicted in 2019, are the last of 15 total defendants to plead guilty to charges relating to the fraud scheme.

What to watch: Portis and Vanover, face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. They are scheduled for sentencing in Jan. 2022.

  • McCune faces a maximum sentence of 356 years and is scheduled back for sentencing on Nov. 19.
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