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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.

Go deeper

The biggest toss-up in TV

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The future of television likely rests on the winner of an intense bidding war for one of the most sought-after programming packages in America: NFL Sunday Ticket. 

Why it matters: The winner of this multi-billion-dollar battle between tech giants and traditional media companies will have an enormous advantage as premium sports content goes digital.

DOJ sues American Airlines, JetBlue to block "unprecedented" alliance

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Justice Department on Tuesday sued American Airlines and JetBlue to block an "unprecedented series of agreements" that will consolidate the two airlines' operations in Boston and New York City.

Why it matters: The civil antitrust complaint alleges that the planned Northeast Alliance (NEA) "will cause hundreds of millions of dollars in harm to air passengers across the country through higher fares and reduced choice," the DOJ said in a release.

FBI: Body identified as Gabby Petito, death ruled a homicide

A memorial dedicated to Gabby Petito near City Hall in North Port, Fla. Photo: Octavio Jones/Getty Images

A body found in Teton County, Wyoming, on Sunday was confirmed to be the remains of missing 22-year-old blogger Gabby Petito, the FBI announced Tuesday.

Driving the news: The death was ruled a homicide by the Teton County coroner's office, the FBI said. The cause of death has not been determined.