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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

Off the Rails

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 4: Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet.

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters gathered outside fortified statehouses across the U.S. over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
8 hours ago - World

China's economy grows 6.5% in Q4 as country rebounds from coronavirus

A technician installs and checks service robots to be be used for food and medicine delivery in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, China, on Sunday. Photo: Hu Xuejun/VCG via Getty Images

China's economy grew at a 6.5% pace in the final quarter of 2020, the national statistics bureau announced Monday local time, topping off a year in which it grew in three of four quarters and by 2.3% in total.

Why it matters: No other major economy managed positive growth in 2020. Although the COVID-19 pandemic was first detected in China, the country got the virus under control and became one of the main positive drivers of the global economy even as the rest of the world was largely under lockdown.