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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

Man who threatened to shoot Pelosi in the head sentenced to 28 months in prison

Supporters of former President Trump protest inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Brent Stirton via Getty Images

A man who traveled to D.C. for the Stop the Steal rally that preceded the Capitol riot and texted people about "putting a bullet" in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's head has been sentenced to 28 months in prison, BuzzFeed reports.

Why it matters: Cleveland Meredith Jr. drove from Colorado to Washington, D.C., with two guns and 2,500 rounds of ammunition, though he arrived late on Jan. 6 due to car trouble, court filings show. Meredith pleaded guilty in September to sending threatening communications.

Updated 13 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Swastikas found outside Union Station in D.C.

People walk through Union Station on Jan. 16 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Drawings of swastikas appeared etched around the entrance to Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.

Driving the news: "An investigation is underway with Amtrak Police and the Metropolitan Police Department after swastikas were reported on the exterior of Washington Union Station on Friday," Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said in a statement to Axios.