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Terrence Williams, the alledged ringleader. Photo: Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images

Eighteen former NBA players on Thursday were charged with defrauding the league's health and welfare benefit plan out of nearly $4 million.

Driving the news: The indictment says that the players engaged in a "scheme" to defraud the plan, which resulted in them submitting "false and fraudulent claims" that totaled $3.9 million, of which they received approximately $2.5 million.

  • Terrence Williams, who was drafted by the then-New Jersey Nets in 2009 and played for the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Boston Celtics, allegedly "orchestrated" the scheme and "recruited" the other former players.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, said Williams "provided the other former players with false invoices for medical and dental procedures that they never received."

  • The players then submitted the claims to the plan, with the plan paying most of the claims.
  • The players then paid kickbacks to Williams, who received a total of approximately $230,000 in payments, prosecutors said.

State of play: Authorities said the FBI arrested 16 of the defendants. All of the defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

  • Williams is also charged with aggravated identify theft for impersonating a health care worker when one of the players failed to pay him a kickback.

What they're saying: "This industry loses tens of billions of dollars a year to fraud. These costs are then passed on to businesses and customers. That's a fraud we take very seriously," said Michael Driscoll, assistant director for the FBI's New York field office.

Here are the players:

  • Terrence Williams
  • Alan Anderson
  • Anthony Allen. His wife, Desiree Allen, was also indicted.
  • Shannon Brown
  • William Bynum
  • Ronald Glen Davis
  • Christopher Douglas-Roberts
  • Melvin Ely
  • Jamario Moon
  • Darius Miles
  • Milton Palacio
  • Ruben Patterson
  • Eddie Robinson
  • Gregory Smith
  • Sebastian Telfair
  • Charles Watson Jr.
  • Antoine Wright
  • Anthony Wroten

Read the indictment below:

Go deeper

Oct 6, 2021 - Sports

National Women's Soccer League set to resume amid turmoil

The NWSL is set to return Wednesday night to a radically different landscape than when players last took the field 10 days ago.

Catch up quick: Two coaches (Paul Riley, NC Courage; Richie Burke, Washington Spirit) were fired last week amid allegations of harassment and sexual coercion.

Biden: "Being a cop today is one hell of a lot harder than it's ever been"

President Biden speaks during the 40th Annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service at the U.S Capitolon Oct. 16. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden speaking at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday honored members of law enforcement who died in the line of duty in 2019 and 2021 and saluted those who are currently serving.

Driving the news: "We expect everything of you, and it's beyond the capacity of anyone to meet the total expectations. Being a cop today is one hell of a lot harder than it's ever been," Biden said.

Updated 5 hours ago - World

Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly bombing in southern Afghanistan

The mosque after the explosion in southern Kandahar province on Oct. 15. Photo: Murteza Khaliqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a massive blast that tore through a crowded Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, killing at least 47 people and injuring dozens more, AP reports.

Why it matters: Friday's attack was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrew its troops from the region and is the second major attack on a Shiite mosque in a week, underscoring the Taliban's growing security threat from other militant groups.