Runningback Clinton Portis of the Washington Redskins against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010. Photo: Hunter Martin /Philadelphia Eagles/Getty Images

The Justice Department has charged 10 former NFL players Wednesday with allegedly defrauding the health care benefit program for retired athletes.

The big picture: The charges follow an FBI investigation that showed the players filed nearly $4 million in false and fraudulent claims under the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which paid out more than $3.4 million between June 2017 and Dec. 2018.

The charges were filed in the Eastern District of Kentucky against:

  • Robert McCune
  • John Eubanks
  • Tamarick Vanover
  • Ceandris Brown
  • James Butler
  • Fredrick Bennett
  • Correll Buckhalter
  • Etric Pruitt
  • Clinton Portis
  • Carlos Rogers

Former NFL wide receivers Joe Horn and Reche Caldwell will also be charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

“Ten former NFL players allegedly committed a brazen, multi-million dollar fraud on a health care plan meant to help their former teammates and other retired players pay legitimate, out-of-pocket medical expenses. Today’s indictments underscore that whoever you are, if you loot health care programs to line your own pockets, you will be held accountable by the Department of Justice.”
— Assistant attorney general Brian Benczkowski said in a statement

Go deeper: Health care's fraud and abuse laws are getting overhauled

Go deeper

In photos: Deadly wildfires devastate California's wine country

The Shady Fire ravages a home as it approaches Santa Rosa in Napa County, California, on Sept. 28. The blaze is part of the massive Glass Fire Complex, which has razed 46,600 acres at 2% containment. Photo: Samuel Corum/Agence France-Presse/AFP via Getty Images

Some 18,700 firefighters are battling 27 major blazes across California, including in the heart of the wine country, where one mega-blaze claimed the lives of three people and forced thousands of others to evacuate this week.

The big picture: 8,155 wildfires have burned across a record 3.86 million acres, killing 26 people and razing almost 7,900 structures in California in per Cal Fire. Just like the deadly fires of 2017, the wine country has become a wildfires epicenter. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, and Shasta counties.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 33,560,877 — Total deaths: 1,006,564 — Total recoveries: 23,297,593Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 7,190,036 — Total deaths: 205,974— Total recoveries: 2,809,674 — Total tests: 103,155,189Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. Politics: 7 former FDA commissioners say Trump is undermining agency's credibility
  5. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  6. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  7. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.
  8. Work: United States of burnout — Asian American unemployment spikes amid pandemic
Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The first Trump v. Biden presidential debate was a hot mess

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

This debate was like the country: Everybody’s talking. Nobody’s listening. Nothing is learned. It’s a mess.

  • We were told President Trump would be savage. Turned out, that was a gross understatement. Even the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, got bulldozed.

Why it matters: Honestly, who the hell knows?